How Dangerous Is Raw Milk vs Common Pharmaceuticals, Obesity, Auto Travel? Judge Gets New Perspective on Dairy

Our politicians and policy makers are amazingly adept at creating scapegoats so as to avoid dealing with real problems that might affect entrenched interests.

The ongoing Wisconsin protests are a case in point. The governor, Scott Walker, has made public workers the scapegoats in the state’s budget crisis, and is using them as an excuse to eliminate key union bargaining rights. The real problem in Wisconsin is much the same as the national debt challenge: we have become addicted to spending more than we take in, and aren’t willing to accept the idea that we need broad sacrifices across the board to even begin to think about getting back on track. The entrenched interests, be they governors who hand out patronage jobs or corporations benefiting from regulatory favoritism, aren’t willing to make sacrifices.

I’m not especially enamored of the public employees in Wisconsin. Remember, they include bureaucrats with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, who have been going after dairy farmers with a vengeance during the last couple of years. I wouldn’t mind seeing their budgets cut so far back that many of them would have to find real jobs. But I dislike even more the scapegoating that is driving the Wisconsin budgetary situation.

It’s a situation not unlike what we face with the regulation of raw dairy. We see the regulators jump on any indication of illness, while sanctioning huge numbers of illnesses and deaths from prescription drugs and all kinds of lifestyle problems.

That’s been a frequent theme in comments on this blog, and now at long last, the discrepancies are being pointed out to the federal judge in Iowa hearing the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s case against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and its Food and Drug Administration.

According to Gary Cox, the lawyer for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the judge in the case last September ordered that “the parties were to file status reports each month.  Our strategy was to file with the court reports that contained evidence of how irrational 1240.61 [ban on interstate shipment of raw milk] is.”

The two most recent reports pick up on arguments made frequently by raw milk advocates here that raw milk, comparatively speaking, isn’t much of a public health problem.

The report for January included announcements from pharmaceutical companies about side effects for nine different commonly prescribed drugs; for example, that Ambien and Ambien CR “may cause a special type of memory loss…dependence…withdrawal….hallucinations, worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts.” Symbicort, a drug for people with bronchitis and emphysema, “may increase the chance of death from asthma problems.”

Concluded the FTCLDF filing: “These are all drugs that are approved by the FDA. It is irrational for the FDA to ban the interstate shipment or distribution of raw milk that does not have any of these symptoms or side effects yet allow these drugs to be sold in interstate commerce given the dangers they present.”
The report for February cites 2005 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which report deaths from various public health problems. For example…4,649 deaths from obesity, 684 from sleep disorders, and 4,596 from motor vehicle deaths, among many others.

“Counsel for Plaintiffs could not find in these data any deaths associated with the consumption of fresh, unprocessed, raw milk and/or other raw dairy products.” The filing also quotes Ted Beals, the Michigan pathologist, as saying “it is more of a risk for him to drive his car and obtain his milk than it is for him to consume his milk.”

The FTCLDF filed its suit about a year ago. In a response in April, the FDA issued its now-famous declaration that Americans “have no absolute right…to any particular food.”

I would guess the latest FTCLDF reports aren’t the run-of-the-mill legal reports the judge is accustomed to seeing.
Another FDA matter that’s come up in the last few weeks has been the 2008 case involving Mark McAfee and his Organic Pastures Dairy Co., which both pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from shipping raw milk across state lines, in violation of the law the FTCLDF is now fighting in federal court. The guilty plea was actually part of a plea bargain under which McAfee and OPDC agreed to abide by the interstate shipment ban for two years, after which the convictions would be dropped. According to McAfee, the FDA and the judge in the case went along with the understanding and just formally signed off.  As he puts it, “I’m now a free man.”

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54 Comments on "How Dangerous Is Raw Milk vs Common Pharmaceuticals, Obesity, Auto Travel? Judge Gets New Perspective on Dairy"

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Mark McAfee
February 25, 2011 3:07 pm

Yes it feels really good to be free from the FDA threat of court pressure, criminal liability and intimidation. Gary Cox can count this one as a win!!!! Not for one moment did I ever feel like the FDA had a case that the federal judge would take seriously. In fact the judge was not kind to the DOJ FDA goons as they made a federal case out of two half gallons of OPDC raw milk that was ordered by undercover agents. It really became a near joke and and an embarrassment for the FDA as they spent tax dollars to fight over raw milk

Now it is done and the FDA got nothing.

I can not wait to see what my hero Gary cox does to the FDA as he exposes more and more of the FDA drug connection and exposes the lies that cover the data and the truth about raw milk. This is going to be fun watching Sheehan squirm and the FoodInc goons tremble at NCIMS.


Mark McAfee
February 25, 2011 3:11 pm

There are so many good people in Nevada that want and need rawmilk. In look forward to the baseless CFR 1240.61Berlin Rawmilk Wall coming down.

Brick by brick I can feel it starting to crumble all ready.


Ken Conrad
February 26, 2011 2:13 am


How Dangerous Is Raw Milk vs Common Pharmaceuticals?

If raw milk were a firecracker then common pharmaceuticals are a stick of dynamite. yet drug companies are given total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government mandated vaccines while those who sell raw milk are vilified.

Ken Conrad

Sylvia Gibson
February 26, 2011 2:20 am

"How Dangerous Is Raw Milk vs Common Pharmaceuticals, Obesity, Auto Travel"……

Apparently raw milk is no where as dangerous as drugs,obesity or auto travel, if it were, than there' d be so many deaths/illnesses from consuming raw dairy. We are what we eat.
This mentions declining healthcare quality…I was at the doctors last Sunday, nasty head cold-the doc "listened" to my lungs over my jacket. He used a simple Sprague stethoscope.

Maurice Kaehler
February 26, 2011 3:41 am
Bill Anderson
February 26, 2011 11:56 am

A little history lesson on Wisconsin's long tradition of rural-urban progressive populism, summed up in the life of Robert M "Fighting Bob" LaFollette.

Truly an inspirational character. Much like Michael Schmidt. I found this recent peice of Michael's interesting:

February 27, 2011 1:28 am

In many states across this country school budget battles dominate the legislative session. Education spending has gotten out of control. The cuts do need to be made across the board, and there are a lot of things the state just plain shouldn't be spending money on to start with. But school funding needs to be seriously reigned in. The $/child spent is insane and legislators and the people are often powerless in the face of the education lobby.

Bill Anderson
February 27, 2011 4:12 am

There are 5 states which specifically prohibit collective bargaining for teachers. Guess where they rank in test scores for high school seniors?

44. Virginia
47. Texas
48. Georgia
49. North Carolina
50. South Carolina.

Wisconsin is currently tied for second. I'd like to think that our state's progressive tradition has something to do with this.

I would agree there are systmetic problems with our schooling system and with standardized testing, but those problems are a result of policies like NCLB and increasing control of private corporations over education policy. Just this last week the cancellor at UW-Madison proposed a sweeping change that would essentially privatize the UW. The proposal, of course, was met with widespread outrage and has only fueled the protests. We are not going to let our public institutions be sold off to the highest bidder here in Wisconsin. Maybe in a place like Texas they let that kind of stuff go without a fight, but in WI we are fighters! Even our football is socialist — we have the only publically owned sports team in the U.S., the super bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

The solution to these budget issues is simple. End corporate welfare, defund the military-industrial complex, and tax the ultra-rich. We won't pay for Wall Street's crises! Banks get a 800 billion dollar bailout, and we continue to spend billions on imperialist wars, but to pay a living wage and healthcare to workers is somehow busting the budget?!?!???? This is class warfare!

milk farmer
February 27, 2011 5:10 am


That attitude can ONLY come from someone who doesn't have a child in school….or whose parents weren't educators.

Education is our future… we can pay now, or pay later….

Bill Anderson
February 27, 2011 1:19 pm

Personally, I am skeptical of "schooling." It is not the same thing as education.

I support worker's rights, which is why I support teacher's collective bargaining. I also support education, I just think we need to recognize that modern schools were not created to educate children, they were created to socialize them into their class role in the industrialized capitalist state.

Our school system is in need of major democratic reform, no doubt, and has been for a long time. Blaming this on teacher's salaries and benefits its just totally wrong-headed though. Teachers are not the problem. The problems are much deeper than that.

Mark McAfee
February 27, 2011 11:21 pm

OPDC was invited to attend. Girls Scouts " world thinking day" during this event yesterday the CEO of the Miss California Beauty Pageant was brought to us by Dr Kathy Furguson PHD the CEO of the central CA GirlsScouts. The short story is this. The Miss CA CEO wants all the Miss CA Pegeant Girls on OPDC raw milk. He talked about their health and immune status….. Wow! Now that is progress.

This kind of progress only happens when producers teach and work very hard doing outreach. We give away free samples at these events. Yesterday 70 half gallons of raw milk were sampled or given away for free.

Teach teach teach. Seems like we need raw milk in our schools. Now I am dreaming again.

Someday. Step by step. I sat near Dr Ed Moreno ( the director of health for Fresno county ) at a health alliance meeting this week. He said openly that although he is in charge of public health he lacks in authority over nutrition. He was reaching out to farmers to feed kids more unprocessed good foods. He was trying to find a way to stop the epidemic of diabetes and obesity. He knew it was food and not lack of drugs.

This is progress. I told him that when the FDA policies criminalize the links between food and healing. It is the Pharma Medical complex that is making us very sick. He could not agree or disagree. He just squirmed in quiet frustrated agreement.

This is progress.



Ingvar Odegaard
February 27, 2011 11:48 pm

Every school should have some grass, and a cow, to eat the grass, and youngsters to milk the cow and take care of the cow.

Mr. Dream Herder

lola granola
February 28, 2011 12:38 am

Here are some facts about the situation in Wisconsin:

*Those protesting are members of public employee unions, getting salary and benefits from the public largess.

*Under Gov. Walker's bill, public employees would retain the right to collectively bargain for salary up to the Consumer Price Index, but would lose the right to collectively bargain for benefits.

*Gov. Walker's bill would make public employees pay 5.8% of their retirement pension, and 12.8% of their health insurance (well below national averages for private sector employees).

*Local police, state police and firefighters will retain all rights to collectively bargain under Gov. Walker's bill.

*Wisconsin's population is 5.5 million; the protester do not represent a majority. On the contrary, the majority voted in the Republicans in 2010 – as Governor, as the Assembly majority and as the Senate majority – to make cuts and balance the budget (and to NOT raise taxes or borrow more money).

*The state of Wisconsin has a budget shortfall of $137 million in this budgetary cycle (through June 30, 2011) and a budgetary shortfall of $3.6 billion in the 2011-2013 cycle (begins July 1, 2011).

*The (teachers) union owns their own health insurance company, and strong-arms school districts into buying into this company, and makes it very difficult for school districts to get out; this creates a monopoly and allows the union insurance company to charge outrageous premiums for their insurance; breaking the union monopoly would allow school districts to shop around for cheaper health insurance, and to buy into the state health insurance if they so choose (which is cheaper than the union insurance).

*Gov. Walker's 2011-2013 budget proposal (not yet announced) is expected to cut some of the funding the state gives to school districts. School districts need to be able to contract cheaper insurance if they want to avoid layoffs.

*At least two school districts in Wisconsin have already laid off all of their teachers (at the end of the school year) as the future of the contracts are up in the air (Included in the layoffs is the Senate majority leader's wife, who is a guidance counselor. He still supports the bill.).

*If the budget bill doesn't go through with the concessions Walker wants, there WILL be layoffs, up to 12,000 state employees.

*The head of the teachers union in Wisconsin makes $480,000/year plus expenses.

*Gov. Walker's bill would make union membership voluntary, not mandatory (maybe why the union heads are so up in arms???). The state would no longer collect union dues on the union's behalf; the union members would have to mail a check to the union for their dues themselves. (And if someone chooses not to join a union, the savings on the dues will put more money in their pocket.)

*Raising taxes on the "rich" to make up for budgetary shortfalls has consequences and does nothing to address the unsustainable increased spending on government employees and programs. (The real "rich" have their money in NGOs and offshore, btw.) The "rich" that get taxed are the small business owners who have to cut hours, cut benefits or lay off employees to make up the increased tax burden.

*No one has a "right" to collective bargaining. Collective bargaining was a "privilege" granted to public sector workers' unions in Wisconsin in 1959. As it is a "privilege" granted by the state (and not a god-given "right") the state has the authority to take it away. The state cannot take away a "right".

*Eygpt, which the Madison protests have been compared to, is protesting to throw off the shackles of a tyrannical regime and to gain a measure of democracy and self-rule. The Madison protesters, on the other hand, are protesting to keep the status quo and to keep getting benefits from the public largess, at the expense of the taxpayer (the real middle class) and with no measure of concern for their financial state, which has been deteriorating for years.

*And (drum roll, please), Wisconsin spends more than $10,00 per student per year on education, but according to the U.S. Department of Education, a full two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin cannot read proficiently.

And, just to clarify, the Green Bay Packers are not some socialist dream, Bill, they are a publicly owned CORPORATION, not owned "by the people", but "by the people" who used their own hard-earned money to buy a share of stock.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 1:32 am

Working hard to promote the government's position, hey lola?

Your "facts" couldn't be further from the truth. Shall I flood this forum with a bunch of links refuting the misinformation you just posted, or shall I save our dear friends the trouble? Its sad that you decide to take the same side as the right-wing billionairre Koch brothers. Fighting Bob LaFollette would be ashamed of you.

The Green Bay Packers are a socialist football team and support the striking workers, Lola. And Aaron Rodgers is a union shop steward:

lola granola
February 28, 2011 4:19 am

Everyone, please notice the diversionary tactic that Bill is using to avoid answering a direct question. He is trying to force a correlation between me and big business in an attempt to discredit my character and sidestep the question.

Bill made his opinion known about the Madison protests in no less than 4 postings, but when called to defend his position against the FACTS I presented as reported by the media this past week and a half he chooses instead to try to "discredit" me by making a nonexistent "link" between me and big business.

When you have nothing to say and no valid argument to defend, you sidestep the question and discredit your opponents.

Bill, you have the right to voice your opinion; I have the right to voice mine. I provided facts, you told me they were wrong. It is not inconceivable to expect you to defend that accusation, not just to me, but to everyone here reading this.

Let me remind the readers that Bill Anderson does not live in Wisconsin, but is in fact an Ohio resident. He does not vote here, he pays no taxes here, yet he has proclaimed himself "WI's biggest raw milk activist" and knows best as far as the public employee unions go, but for some implausible reason he does not have to justify his opinions regarding any of these issues that are really not his concern to begin with. We're just supposed to trust him, I guess, 'cause he's such a swell guy.

(And just for the record – pay attention, Bill! – I did oppose the raw milk bill last year, but not because I sided with Big Ag., but because the bill GAVE MORE POWER TO THE GOVERNMENT TO REGULATE FARMERS. Just because Big Ag. and I were on the same "side" in opposing the bill does not mean I SIDED with Big Ag. Surly someone as smart as you knows the difference.)

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 5:59 am

Like I said, if anyone is interested in information about Wisconsin's budget situation, and the Walker administration's attempt to use it as a ploy to strip 1st amendment rights of association, assembly, and petition for redress of greviances (in the form of collective bargaining rights) from Wisconsin workers, just let me know.

I have been at the protests here almost every single day since they started. I live in downtown Madison and am very well-connected with the local movement.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 6:21 am


The police are attempting to clear the capital for the first time in 14 days. The capital has been locked, and there are large protests outside, as well as a good crowd inside. Some are planning civil disobediance.

See it live streaming from here:

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 6:36 am

4:35pm the live stream from inside the capital building has been blacked out.

Here is the local newspaper's article about it:

Alex Hanna, a member of the UW TAA, was one of five people who gathered at 3 p.m. for a news conference to discuss how protesters intended to stay in the Capitol.

"The bottom line is we're going to be nonviolent," Hanna said. But, "whatever happens we're going to be back. This is obviously politically motivated."

Dozens of ministers, rabbis, and priests joined workers and students from across the state, saying they would risk arrest to protest the closing of the State Capitol to the public Sunday.

"I think that this action tonight is silencing the peoples' voice," said Rabbi Renee Bauer, of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Rights of South-Central Wisconsin. "Silencing the minority, or the people with less power, is a real moral problem. This feels like it's about shutting down the peaceful demonstration one step at a time."

Other religious leaders agreed.

"This is a critical moment for Wisconsin and for so many states," said Rev. Leah Lonsbury of Memorial United Church of Christ in Madison. "Clearly, this is about far more than a budget.

"It's a moral issue, and the rights at stake here are so basic to our common good and our common humanity, to the very idea of justice, that we are willing to risk arrest to protect them and have our voices be heard. Our faith calls us to stand with the vulnerable and speak truth to power. This is what we are called to do."

Gordon Watson
February 28, 2011 6:38 am

"progressive tradition" ? … "Progressive" is the code-word crypto-communists use to identify themselves.
perhaps that inverse correlation between the ranking of high-school graduates, and collective bargaining for teachers, has more to do with the fact that the citizens aren't over-educated idiots, in positions of power? … those states have a preponderance of ordinary citizens out in the real world, making an honest living, instead of parasitizing the public purse, so pork-chop union functionaries can take home obscene salaries. .

yeah, well, the widom of the unionists is what brought about the wasteland of downtown Detroit …have a real good look at Ham-merica as imagined by the commies who ran the unions into their INevitable = bankrupt = end. . … this is what hyper-inflation looks like. Take care of yourself …

lola granola
February 28, 2011 6:43 am

Bill says,

"Your "facts" couldn't be further from the truth."

Yet backs up this statement with nothing.

Bill says,

"Like I said, if anyone is interested in information about Wisconsin's budget situation…"

I am interested in the information you have…or do you mean anyone but me?

Bill says,

"…and the Walker administration's attempt to use it as a ploy to strip 1st amendment rights of association, assembly, and petition for redress of greviances (in the form of collective bargaining rights) from Wisconsin workers…"

But the Wall Street Journal says,

"Mr. Walker says that the employee rights that people care about are protected by civil-service rules, not collective bargaining. 'We have the strongest protections in the country on grievance procedures, merit hiring, and just cause for disciplining and terminating employees,' he says. 'None of that changes under my plan.'"

(Please reread my statement above where I describe collective bargaining as a privilege, not a right. This is correct from a legal point of view.)

And Bill says,

" I live in downtown Madison…"

When did you move back to Wisconsin, Bill? Aren't you working as a cheesemaker in Ohio anymore?

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 6:49 am

Yes, I mean anyone but you lola. You certainly have a way of discrediting yourself.

samantha stevens
February 28, 2011 7:31 am

more reports form madison please bill and thank you.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 7:57 am

The police have stated they will not arrest anyone who is peaceful, but are trying to obtain "voluntary compliance." Restrooms have been locked, all video cameras have been removed (including corporate newsmedia) so there is no live video feed. I am hearing from people inside the capital that the bathrooms have been locked, but the protest is holding strong.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 8:00 am

CORRECTION: There is a live video feed here:

It looks like it is coming from a cell phone. Low-quality and kind of choppy, but it shows that the protests are still holding.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 8:11 am

Lola and Gordon-

I have an old friend you might like to meet. He and I don't get along very well because he's always calling me names and trying to send me to jail for my political affiliations. His name is Joe McCarthy… you might know him?

Oh wait, that's right, he's dead. SORRY.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 8:53 am

More breaking news: One Republican senator just broke ranks and has stated he will oppose the Walker bill.

Also, official word was just given that the protesters can stay the night in the capital.

Frederick Douglass' famous speech is ringing in my head… power concedes nothing without a demand…

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 9:33 am

For those who haven't seen it yet… Here's a hilarious Steven Colbert report on the Tea Party's attempt to embarrass Wisconsin "union goons"

lola granola
February 28, 2011 9:52 am

Oh, Bill, have we really resorted to childish namecalling in lieu of rational, thoughtful discussion?

I have a piece of advice for you. At some point in your adult life you are going to have to realize that you'll need to use intelligent debate with people who don't share your worldview. To avoid issues and call names won't get you far in the real world.

I'd also suggest that you get out of Madison and ask the regular, blue-collar folks what they think of the protests and the bill. Madison may be the capitol, but it is not entirely representative of the political views of other parts of the state. The fact that the conservatives now hold a majority in both houses should give you some indication of this. You may not know anyone who supports the bill, but I don't know anyone who doesn't.

And something you may want to consider…in supporting the public employee unions you are supporting the very DATCP employees and their bloated salaries you claim to be fighting, at the expense of the same farmers you claim to defend (the taxpayers). I would love to hear you explain this seeming discrepancy.

And, I'd love to know why your back in Madison with so much free time on your hands that you can go to the protests every day. Job in Ohio must not have worked out so well, eh?

lola granola
February 28, 2011 10:09 am

This is for you, Bill.

Before you attack the MESSENGER, listen to the MESSAGE:

"CALLER: I was a teamster for 12 years in Seattle, and I wanted to call and put this myth to bed that these union protesters are actually trying to protect jobs. Senior seniority union members are interested in j-o-b, singular. They do not care about jobs that are below them in the seniority list. I sat in both many times —

"CALLER: Right. The only job they're interested in is their own. I've been in many votes where it meant pennies to senior union members, say a cut in pay or a little bit more they had to pay for their retirement or a little bit more they had to pay for health care or we would lose jobs, and without fail they would pay to keep the money in their pocket rather than save jobs. This governor's told them, "Look you're gonna lose 12,000 jobs." They don't care. If you're below them on the seniority list, the top 50% plus one vote will vote in lockstep every single time, and these younger seniority members —

"CALLER: Well, look, I drove for 12 years for the newspaper in Seattle. I went through a couple of strikes and each time it meant losing jobs, the vote went, "I'm not giving up my money." And that meant younger guys who had young families lost their jobs, and women, every single time.

"CALLER: It would have meant a slight cut in pay, and if I recall correctly once it was a 5% cut in pay. No chance. If it meant paying a little more for health care, no way, not a chance. If it meant cutting jobs or I get to keep my money, I'm keeping my money, every single time. Now, you talked about the dues, I want to know why nobody in the media has asked these union members from Wisconsin, "Wait a minute, this president of your union is making $480,000 a year. Does that not tell you you're paying too much in union fees?" I'd be outraged if I was in a union and I had a union president –"

Now ask yourself, Bill – is the union your fighting for protect the workers, or the union bosses? You're all out there protesting to put fat salaries in the hands of the union bosses who then spend their members' union dues on campaign contributions to Democratic candidates who then in turn cast votes to protect the interests of the unions. Does this sound like "democracy" to you, or corrupt government taking money from corrupt corporations (unions)?

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 10:13 am

Oh, Lola, have we really resorted to childish namecalling in lieu of rational, thoughtful discussion? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Rush Limbaugh, seriously? You call that rational thoughtful discussion?

Email me if you want to talk. I'd love to have a rational discussion with you, if you can think rationally for once. This isn't Rush Limbaugh, lola.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 10:16 am


One prerequisite, if you want to talk, is to read this peice from my personal raw milk hero Michael Schmidt:

Ingvar Odegaard
February 28, 2011 10:46 am

My goodness.

Wayne Craig
February 28, 2011 11:40 am

Great post David, I love the filings re FDA policy toward drug risks being submitted by FTCLDF in the Iowa case.

Re: the situation here in WI, I think the truth lies somewhere in btwn the two extremes as it usually does. Personnally, I think our government has to do "less with less" from the local to national level. It now tries to do things far beyond that intended by the founding fathers, for example limiting our food chioces. I expect things will deteriorate furthur financially in this country in the near future and we will look back on the WI battles as minor in the big scheme of things.

As Obama said "elections have consequences" and I believe the majority spoke last November here in WI. If the politicians are pursuing the wrong policies future elections will correct the course.

I thought you all might find this video thought provoking re: government policy, in this case the "War on Drugs"
The judge's first comments are "the government has as much of a right to tell me what I can put in my body as it does what I put in to my mind. It is none of their business". RIGHT ON!!! There is also a good article at this site re the Koch Bros. These guys are business men but they are libertarians first.

Wayne Craig

lola granola
February 28, 2011 12:46 pm

Here's a database of Wisconsin teachers' and administrators' salaries.

A teacher in my district who teaches 4 year old pre-school makes $46,500 a year in salary, $30,500 in benefits. (Interestingly, the H.S. science teacher makes only $1300 more a year – $47,800 – with a similar benefits package.) The average salary for my entire county, however, is only $30,000 year.

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 1:11 pm

I've got an idea — Let's PRIVATIZE EVERYTHING. No more government. We sell off every government asset to the highest bidder, including the police, the military, and DATCP. I'm sure the Koch brothers will be all over that.

From now on, all law enforcement will be done on a private basis — he who can afford the most troops and police forces gets to set the rules. Then, when there are controversies about raw milk, instead of having a public agency which is ultimately accountable to the popular democratic will, we will have private mercernaries who are only accountable to corporate bottom lines enforcing the rules about how milk is made.

I'm sure that raw milk will just thrive under this Ayn-Rand-topia, hey? Because we all know that raw milk farmers have alot of money to buy mercenaries and law enforcement to protect themselves from the mercernaries and law enforcement that big dairy processing interests will buy.

Oh wait a second… there's something wrong with this logic. Let me re-think that one…

Bill Anderson
February 28, 2011 1:56 pm

Perhaps I should try to explain my view in a less sarcastic way than what I said above.

I am unaware of any major social or political change in the history of mankind which was driven by the forces of the "free market." I do know of several such changes which were driven by ideologues of "free market" dogmas, heavily funded by corporate military-industrial interests, such as the 1972 military coup in Chile. That was definetly a change for the worse, and it was a pre-cursor of what was to come (read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" for a more detailed history of the disasterous and authoritarian consequences of neo-liberalism)

On the other hand, most beneficial social and political changes (in which the balance of power shifts from the elites to the masses) is driven by popular grassroots organizing and protesting, much of the kind we see going on in Madison right now. That kind of organizing and protesting is precisely the reason that DATCP was forced to back off last year on the raw milk front. To pit the raw milk movement against the movement for worker's rights going on right now is a profound and grave mistake, if that is what you are trying to do.

And if you are a fan of the Koch brothers and are a small raw milk dairy farmer, then you need to see this:

This is the technology that will be used to produce faux "raw milk" on an industrial scale, and steal the market out from under family dairy farmers.

Mark my words… ultra-filtered faux "raw milk" is not far off. We will probably see it within the next 10 years. The dairy processing industry is already talking about it.

Smy Opin
February 28, 2011 7:52 pm

lola wrote: "A teacher in my district who teaches 4 year old pre-school makes $46,500 a year in salary, $30,500 in benefits. The average salary for my entire county, however, is only $30,000 year."

I don't really have a strong opinion on this either way. But it seems obvious that
comparing the salary of folks with advanced education to the overall average of a community is
not particularly helpful information.

lola granola
February 28, 2011 8:17 pm

Wow, I guess Bill is capable of having a rational thought (after his emotional outbursts, that is), he's just not capable of having a rational dialogue, and not capable of having one with me.

No one is trying to pit the raw milk movement against the movement for worker's rights, as you claim above. You are desperately trying to make a connection where none exists.

This isn't about the will of the "government" and it's not about the Koch brothers – this is about the will of the TAXPAYERS, who elected a Republican majority to do exactly what they're doing now. Wayne Craig and I may not see eye to eye on a lot of things, but I do agree with him when he says elections have consequences and if the legislators are on the wrong path they will be voted out in the next election.

The Democrats lost, Bill, and will lose the vote on the Budget Repair Bill, no matter how much noise the union boys and girls make at the capitol. Get over it. When the Dems ran to Illinois, they stalled the "democratic process". I thought you were in favor of "democratic processes"? Perhaps you need to rethink your logic.

Go back and reread the bullet points I made on page 1, and if they are wrong, PROVE IT. I guarantee this will clear your thinking on the subject, and maybe you'll get to see the issues from a place that's not from an insular, socialist mecca like Madison.

If you think socialism is the answer to corporate greed and influence, you obviously don't understand how the world really works. I know you won't, but it would do you good to read this:

I'd also recommend reading up on MK Ultra and Satanic Ritual Abuse. Very prevalent and wielding a lot of influence under the surface.

(And before you get on your conspiracy nut bandwagon – these are FACTS, if you choose not to look at them it doesn't make them any less so.)

Everything you've been taught in school is to push a specific agenda, Bill. Why do you have a negative view of free markets? Maybe because that's what you were taught in school? And now who's protest are you marching in? Those very educators who taught you socialism is good, unions are good, and free markets are bad? Think, Bill!

I don't doubt that ultrafiltration is just around the corner as you've reminded us time and again. But if you think surrounding yourself with Weston Price yes-men is the way to battle this, you've got it wrong. Weston Price and FTCLDF are controlled opposition, they are there to create a demand for raw milk. This back-and-forth with the government is just show (notice how FTCLDF doesn't really get anywhere?). When the demand hits a high enough peak (we're fast approaching this) they'll introduce the National Standards and Codex, which will be so restrictive and/or expensive that it will shut most small farmers out of the market. But the demand is there, remember? Well, here come the corporate farms who can afford to play ball with the regulators and install expensive systems. Weston Price will be the 3rd party regulator, they will own their own corporate farm (paid with your donations, thank you), FTCLDF will have "successfully" overturned the interstate ban on raw milk, and all their minions will continue to flock to them, not realizing it was THEY who conspired to shut the rest of us useful idiots out of the market. Don't worry, those unemployed farmers who have the severest cases of Stockholm Syndrome will find employment on their corporate farms. Proud, small business owner/farmers will now just be worker drones in Corporate Amerika like everyone else.

THAT'S your corporate takeover of America, Bill. Socialism is not the answer. Unregulated, direct, free market trade is.

Now, I know you're not going to agree with anything I've said. Seriously, spare everyone the hassle of having to read your ignorant, childish retort to me. Take what I've said, we don't have to agree, and put it in your back pocket and see if it doesn't fit into the puzzle at some point. But seriously read the Rothschild timeline. It's an eye-opener.

lola granola
February 28, 2011 8:30 pm

"I don't really have a strong opinion on this either way. But it seems obvious that
comparing the salary of folks with advanced education to the overall average of a community is
not particularly helpful information."

The salaries of the teachers are paid by everyone in the community, regardless of the community member's educational level or salary. The teachers are claiming that they don't make much money, and that's the reason they're marching in Madison. This is obviously untrue when you compare the teachers' salaries to the average salary of my community, especially when you add benefits into the equation, which many in my community (unless they work for the government) do not have, or have to pay out of pocket AFTER their salary.

Perhaps this is more helpful: the County Register of Deeds (as reported in the local paper a few years ago) makes $54,000 in salary. She has a H.S. degree, no more. The average county salary is $30,000. Can we see the problem yet?

Barney Google
February 28, 2011 9:10 pm

Way back when Hugh Betcha talked about how the economy will break down and society will break down. Isn't it amazing how everything is happening in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin was the template for NAIS and the raw milk movement. It's also the first state to break down financially, take on the unions and try to balance it's budget. It's the first state to meet public resistance.

Wisconsin is broke, there's nothing more to get, yet people want more. It's only going to get worse from here.

February 28, 2011 9:21 pm

"the County Register of Deeds (as reported in the local paper a few years ago) makes $54,000 in salary. She has a H.S. degree, no more."

ummm, isn't a Register of Deeds an elected position? It is in my county. If so, she probably doesn't belong to a union anyway. If not, are you proposing that the position should be eliminated to save money?

lola granola
February 28, 2011 10:24 pm

You're right, Goatmaid, our Register of Deeds is an elected position, and therefore wouldn't belong to the union.

My reason for posting her salary was to counter Sym Opin's suggestion that government workers with advanced degrees should command a higher-than-average salary. Her position requires no advanced degree or specialized training, yet, when you take her salary and benefits into account (admittedly I don't know the cash value of her benefits), earns more than twice the average for the rest of the county. I'm not necessarily suggesting her position be eliminated, but I am suggesting that her salary be on par with the rest of her community. And with all government workers, union or not, we should expect them to take the same losses to salary and benefits the private sector endures when the economy is bad (and the tax base decreases), and enjoy the same increases as the private sector when the economy is good.

(Now, I can argue that her position be eliminated all together, as what she does is record the acquisitions and corporate mergers for the corporate entities of "Wisconsin" and "United States", not the independent republic of Wisconsin and the Constitutional Republic the united states. Her position would be completely unnecessary if we returned to a Constitutional Republic and the recording of birth, deaths and marriages would go back into the hands of families, churches, and private genealogical groups.)

Maurice Kaehler
March 1, 2011 12:46 am

If you torture logic clear to death, you wind up saying quite a lot less than nothing

I've posted that before. Needs repeating.

This site is supposed to be about the "The Business of Your Health"

I come here to be updated on what's going on in the raw milk world. I like staying ahead of the curve rather than behind it. When I what I see devolves into what is going on in this thread I find myself not visiting for 3 weeks to a month. This happens often. I don't come here to watch car wrecks. And this comes from someone who is involved. I can only imagine what people new to this site must think and I doubt that they ever return.

Keep building cases against each other and see where it leads.

Politics is past tense. Politicians are accessories after the fact. Political discussions are a drain of energy and resources. I live in an environment with a high percentage of blowhard provocatuers who seem to get their "juice" from the conflict they inspire. God forbid that the conflict be resolved. One's identity might be lost.

Shut up if you can't contribute something constructive.

Maurice Kaehler
March 1, 2011 12:54 am

To Team Wisconsin and surrounding states…..

There is a good opportunity to promote good nutritional food. As a pizza business who is taking orders from around the world says, "The people in Madison can't live on pizza alone…."

Someone can take some intitiative, bring in their own milk, cheese, etc. and donate/disperse it freely. Good will goes a long way and I don't think any laws are broken if you give it away.

Bill Anderson
March 1, 2011 1:09 am

Lola, there is no such thing as a pure unregulated free-market, there has NEVER been such a thing as a pure unregulated free-market, and there NEVER WILL BE such as thing as pure unregulated free-market. Markets are a creature of the state. They could not exist without the repressive powers of the state to enforce the institutions neccessary to have a market economy.

Humans are social beings. Our behaviors are regulated first and foremost by social customs and institutions, not by narrow immediate individual economic self-interest. Corporations are collectivist entities granted legal privileges by the state. They are the very basis of capitalism. A corporation is the means by which the ruling class accumulates capital and organizes the economic activity of society. Without corporations, capitalism as we have understood it since the dawn of the industrial revolution simply could not exist.

To suggest that doing away with all government regulation of markets would solve all of our problems is wishful thinking on your part. But the consequences of this kind of ideology are very dire — increasing powers of state repression, and destruction of civil liberties, neccessary to contain social unrest resulting from the extreme economic disparities created by such a system, and enforce the will of capital unto the masses of people. There is a direct relationship between the powers of the state neccessary to protect the interests of the wealthy, and the degree of seperation between those with the most wealth and those with the least. As I said, read "The Shock Doctrine", it documents what happens when the imaginations of right-wing economists meet the realities of the world. It should cure you of your ideological illusions.

Personally, I am proud of Wisconsin's progressive traditions. Despite many shortcomings within our dairy industry (and believe me… I could write a book on them), we have more small dairy farms than any other state by a long-shot. We were the first state to implement social security, and the birthplace of the Republican Party by radical abolitionists (very different than the Republican Party of today, obviously). We are also home to the most successful independent presidential candidate in American history — Fighting Bob LaFollette.

Its unfortunate that out-of-state billionaires like the Koch brother are trying to finance the destruction of our state's democratic progressive traditions. And its even more unfortunate that they have convinced people like you to go along with their agenda.

However, it is very heartening to see the mass uprising and grassroots activism expand and continue. Wisconsin's progressive traditions are indeed alive and thriving. Fighting Bob LaFollette is smiling at us from heaven.

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." -Abraham Lincoln

March 1, 2011 1:12 am

milk farmer,

Why do you make assumptions about things you do not know? For the record my mother was a teacher and I am good friends with many many teachers. But it is simply undeniable our education system is fatally broke.

The amount of money wasted is obscene. The $/child could pay for a private in-home tutor for ever 3 or 4 children or less in many states. The national average $/child is $10k with a supposed range of 5k-15k nationwide, though I'm not sure those numbers take into account all expenditures.

Untrained, unpaid parents routinely homeschool their children to acedemic levels far exceeding the public schooled pupils.

Our country is falling behind other industrialized nations in education.

We have become a nation of brainwashed consumers frequently unable to make independent decisions, sending >50% of our income to the government, while thinking ourselves the freest in the world if not all history.

School funding is an immense distraction every year in state houses across the country and the people are often powerless and unable to reign in spending in this time when everyone must endure belt tightening.

And no, teachers are not particularly highly educated (especially when they're teaching a specific discipline their often not trained in like math or science, but thats not always the case) . Their classes pale in comparison to the difficulty of those an engineer or scientist has to take to get through college. But that doesn't mean they are any less smart or valuable. But neither do pieces of paper issued from so called institutions of higher learning make one smarter or more qualified for higher pay.

Teachers are routinely paid higher than the average for a given locality. And I understand the importance of educating the next generation. But their performance in doing so doesn't merit the expense. And they are often paid far far higher than most farmers (most of whom rely on outside jobs to support themselves). And which do you think is more critical to our nations survival?

Bill Anderson
March 1, 2011 1:42 am

Some history on Wisconsin progressivism and our historical hero Fighting Bob LaFollette:

Fighting Bob was truly an inspirational individual. His legacy lives with us to this day.

lola granola
March 1, 2011 1:56 am

Thank you for your opinion, Maurice, but you do not have the right to tell anyone here to "shut up".

This is David Gumpert's blog, and as owner he has the right to moderate or ban anyone he feels is derailing the conversation or being abusive. He has not done that.

Let me remind you that you do not have to read the comments, or all the comments, to be up to date on the latest in the raw milk & local foods movement. David covers that in his articles.

The raw milk & local foods movements and politics are inexplicably intertwined. To think they're not is ignorant.

If you don't like it, don't read it. But don't tell anyone here to "shut up".

Sophie Lovett
March 1, 2011 8:25 am

I'm enjoying the exchange. However, "largess" generally describes charity and I'm presuming the public employees are actually working for their salaries so it's not largess.

Also, there was no budget crisis until Walker gave $117 Million in corporate tax cuts. Are there really people in America that still believe in trickle down economics?

Nothing like free elections in a Koch brothers ad-saturated free market.

While unions have certainly overplayed their hands, I am grateful they exist. Every time I take a bathroom break in the middle of the workday, every Saturday I get to go to farmers markets instead of work, and so on.

I was happy to donate a pizza from Ians to the protesters–extra cheese, of course.

milk farmer
March 1, 2011 12:01 pm


My apologies for being presumptuous….but in my state, the money being spent on each child isn't excessive, and teachers pay is ptitful…. and as a result the education is generally poor. Sure maybe in other states, may be where you live, the teachers unions might be mucking up the works….but its not that way everywhere.

I'm lucky that we got my kid in a public charter school, not beholding to the status quo, with teachers that are not highly paid….but work there because they really care about kids, and the elementary education they require. The test scores are generally top 5-10 percentile, and they adamantly 'don't teach the test' like other schools do. It's too bad she's graduating…the higher school options don't seem to have the same attitude.

Frankly, I think that the deterioration of family life does more to inhibit education than the excessive demands of teachers to make a living wage. Kids spend but a fraction of their lives in the classroom, and often are just wasting time at home playing video games while their parents ignore them.

We each can only speak from our experience…and in my world teachers don't get enough…credit, money or prestige. Sure, I don't doubt there are entities out there that do deserve some blame for 'milking the system'…but it sure beats getting milked BY the system!

Whats going on in Wis is a tragedy….and those that are perpetrating it are following a devious plan. Bush screwed up the economy, Obama was left holding the bag, and now the subsequent reactionary wave is trying to undo 5 decades of progress. Do you really think they ran McCain expecting (or wanting) him to win?

Blaming public employees for the ills of society is just a front for busting unions, putting labor at a disadvantage and empowering the wealthy business owners that support those that must deceive to be elected. It's blatantly obvious to those that aren't dumbed down by TV, alcohol or dead food.