Farmer Faces Possible 3-year Prison Term for Feeding Community
Customers and Other Supporters Stand with Farmer
February 24, 2012--Baraboo, WI—Food sovereignty activists
from around North America will meet at this tiny town on March 2, 2012 to
support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger,
who has a court hearing that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors
that could land him in prison for three years with fines of over $10,000. The
Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and
other farm products.
DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things,
operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly
denies this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private
buying club and is not subject to state food regulations. “There is more at
stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,” says Hershberger, “this
is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful,
private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional
At a pre-court rally scheduled for 11:00am, in front of the
Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo, food rights activists will read and
distribute a “Declaration of Food Independence” that asserts inherent rights in
food choice. A signing ceremony will be part of the rally. The signers expect
the declaration will inspire a growing food sovereignty movement. Speakers at
the rally will include members of Hershberger’s club.
Hershberger and other farmers around the country have been
and are facing state or federal charges against them for providing fresh foods
to wanting customers. In recent months the FDA has conducted several long
undercover sting operations and raids against peaceful farmers and buying clubs
that have resulted in farms shutting down and consumers without access to their
Farm Food Freedom Coalition wants to ensure
that America's treasures, our independent farms and ranches, are able to
thrive. We aim to preserve our agricultural heritage and the future
availability of traditional, farm fresh foods. Americans want and deserve the
freedom to choose natural, unprocessed foods for generations to come.
Media Contact: Liz Reitzig,
Co-founder, Farm Food Freedom Coalition
The Physician Payment Sunshine Act – Darker Days for Pharma
Written by The Canary Party
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 19:56
Beginning in September 2013, we will have the right to know if our doctors are being wined, dined, gifted, funded, or in any way compensated by a pharmaceutical company, thanks to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. There is evidently a lot of money changing hands, because the cost of recording all those payments and complying with the new federal law is going to be $224 million the first year, and $163 million annually thereafter. The purpose of the law is to ensure that undisclosed financial ties do not unduly influence medical research and medical practice.
A federal website will be maintained for the public, listing names of physicians and the value in dollars of payments received from manufacturers greater than $10 (add three or four zeros for some physicians). Doctors will also be required to disclose their stock holdings involving companies that supply drugs, medical devices and biologics. Aside from the extra cost to health care providers (which will likely be passed along to patients), this law is good news for consumers.
How do pharmaceutical companies feel about the bright light of day shining on the wined and dined? Pharma is apparently not too confident that we, the consumers of their goods, can handle this information. They are concerned that transparency “without context” could give us the wrong idea. They are worried that we might think drug companies are actually trying to buy influence by giving our doctors gifts, food, entertainment, travel, honoraria, research funding, grants, charitable contributions, direct compensation for teaching, consulting fees, investment interest, royalties, licensing fees and speaking fees.
Now why would we think that? John Castellani, President and CEO of the lobbying group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) tells us that “transparency should bring clarity, not confusion.” Ironically, this is how PhRMA describes its “transparency” to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:
“Our comments to CMS are long and complicated, reflecting the complexities of the issue. They make use of examples, hypotheticals and incredibly long descriptions.”
Such tactics do not bode well for either transparency or clarity. In fact, medical consumers may be left wondering if this is just another old-fashioned snow job. Pharmaceutical companies are very worried that the Physician Payment Sunshine provision of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act will result in consumers looking at a physician’s name and a dollar amount the doctor is paid by companies that make drugs, medical devices or supplies, and draw conclusions without understanding “the information learned, the expertise provided, or the resources that went into the particular research work.”
The law is meant to provide the public with transparency “in interactions between biopharmaceutical companies and health care providers.” (Try wading through pages 1542 – 1563 of the Affordable Care Act.) But Castellani fears that patients will see “such limited information as inaccurately suggesting a physician’s bias, despite research that has shown that this could not be further from the truth.” Getting at “the truth,” however, is not what pharma-funded research is known for, as evidenced by drug safety studies in which the “placebo” is not inert, or the epidemiological study of a vaccine preservative whose data is repeatedly reworked until it can no longer be shown to cause developmental delay in children.
Castellani says pharmaceutical companies want “more useful transparency.” The Canary Party asks, useful to whom? He claims that “we’re proud of the way that we collaborate with physicians, and they with us, in the interests of medical progress. Our goal is to continue working with CMS to create a tool with the appropriate resources for patients to appreciate this, as well.”
Does that last sentence sound like doublespeak nonsense to you? It doesn’t make any sense to us either. Unfortunately, the people who wrote it have a seat at the table with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Let’s hope that table isn’t at the Four Seasons.
Push Back Against the Assault on Vaccine Choice
Written by Dawn Winkler
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 18:07
Dear Friends, Colleagues, Activists, Parents, Everyone:
As many of you know, the state of Washington's personal beliefs
exemption from vaccination was assaulted last legislative session.
Despite massive opposition including close to 100 people showing up to a
committee hearing (which NEVER happens), SB5005 passed and became law.
Parents must obtain the signature of a "healthcare provider" in order to
obtain a personal beliefs or a religious beliefs exemption from school
required vaccination, annually. The "healthcare provider" must meet
certain criteria set forth by the state.
As predicted, the assault on our freedom to opt out of school
required vaccinations based on personal beliefs or religious reasons is
moving forward full force. Vermont already introduced two bills that will ELIMINATE philosphical exemptions altogether (H527 & S199) and they are moving rapidly despite opposition. Arizona
introduced HB2846 on February 7, 2010 which will force parents to
obtain the signature of a "health professional" for both personal
beliefs and religious exemptions.
If these states allow their exemptions to be taken away or
altered to require a healthcare professionals signature for a personal
beliefs or religious exemption, ANY STATE COULD BE NEXT.
The goal is pretty clear here folks. The powers that be don't like
parents being able to excercise their right to opt out of school
required vaccinations. We are witnessing an all out attack on our right
to opt out or choose only certain vaccines. We need to alert as many
people as we can in both Vermont and Arizona and urge them to stand up
for their rights and fight back. We also need everyone else in all other
states to be ready for such an assault.
The National Vaccine Information Center has a state advocacy portal
which makes it very easy to see what is going on in your own state and
keep track of what can be done and what steps to take to help stop these
horrific, freedom threatening bills. Please visit: www.nvicadvocacy.org
and sign up. It's free, easy, and an invaluable tool for everyone to use to help fight for our freedom.
This assault on our right to object to vaccination could not be more serious.
Remember the days of simply trying to educate new parents, friends and
family about the dangers of vaccines? What good will it have done if
they don't have the right to say no to them? We are also facing flu
vaccine mandates for all healthcare workers at both various state levels
and the federal level. The Colorado Board of Health just passed a rule
last week regarding this very issue and the National Vaccine Advisory
Committee also voted this month to recommend that all healthcare workers
receive annual flu vaccines as a condition of employment. We have
already been contacted by healthcare workers who have lost their jobs
over this issue. I listened in on the NVAC meeting for an entire day,
tried to make a comment during the public comment section and was not
allowed. Vaccinating blue-collar workers with annual flu vaccine was
also mentioned during the meeting.
The jig is up folks. It's Pharmageddon (credit for that term goes
to Steve from the Western Canary Party Conference!). They're coming for
all of us. Whether it's flu vaccinations as a condition of employment or
taking away our state allowed exemptions from vaccination for school,
be assured, pHARMa is working hard behind the scenes in every state to
make sure that you and your children are part of their market, even if
Twelve year olds and up in California can now go get Gardasil (HPV
vaccine) and Hepatitis B vaccine without their parents' knowledge or
consent thanks to AB499 which passed last session. Despite an intense
veto campaign, Governor Brown signed the bill into law while also
signing a bill to keep children under 18 from using a tanning bed
without their parents' consent. Those of us in CA are now burdened with
the difficult task of trying to undo this bad bill.
Please forward this to anyone you know who cares about vaccination
rights. If you are in VT or AZ, please join the NVIC's advocacy portal
at the link above and send me an email letting me know you are joining
the fight so I can make sure you get coordinated with what and who you
need. If you are in CA and willing to help get rid of AB499, please send
me an email as there are a group of us working on this via the Canary
Party. The Canary Party also has a great project management tool which
can benefit anyone, anywhere, depending on what aspect of health freedom
you are interested in helping with. If you haven't taken a look at the
Canary Party yet, please do so at www.canaryparty.org
We ALL need to join in and fight. Health freedom is under
unprecedented assault. Everyone can do something and no matter how small
a contribution, every single effort helps. Forwarding an email, making a
phone call, faxing a legislator, attending a hearing, it doesn't
matter. If you value your medical freedom, figure out what you have to
offer and how best to use those skills to help. If you feel you can't
help because of time constraints but can donate money, we can certainly
use donations, no matter how small. Donations to HAPI are tax
deductible, see information below signature. There are very few of us
working really, really hard on this issue and most of us do it for free
while we juggle everday life working at jobs and raising kids. I guess
this is the point where I am begging. Begging for every single person
who receives this to please figure out what it is that you can offer to
help us protect our health freedom, it is almost too late. Don't let
this happen on your watch!
If I have not provided enough information or resources for you to
be able to figure out how it is you can help, please don't hesitate to
call me or email me to chat about ideas. We CAN ALL make a difference if
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men
to do nothing". ~Edmund Burke??? That's what I found, but great quote no
matter who said it!!! Many thanks to all of you dedicated health
freedom fighters for all that you do!
In Health and Liberty,
Health Advocacy in the Public Interest (HAPI)www.hapihealth.com
West Virginia Rally for Philosophical Vaccine Exemptions
Written by The Canary Party
Friday, 17 February 2012 15:40
Attend the rally, Sign the petition. From our Canary friends in West Virginia:
RALLY FOR PARENTAL RIGHTS
Wednesday February 22 @ 10am
WV State Capitol Steps
HUNDREDS WILL GATHER ON THE CAPITAL STEPS TO DEMAND END TO FORCED VACCINATION
The New England Journal of Medicine supports non-medical exemptions. Why does WV have to stand outside of these recommendations and the rest of the country?
On Wednesday, February 22 at 10am on the steps of the West Virginia State Capital, families, military members, health care professionals, and legal experts will gather to affirm that vaccination choice is a fundamental human and civil right. They will demand that Senate Bill 50 (introduced by Senators Boley and Nohe) be passed swiftly, providing families with the same type of non-medical immunization exemption 48 other states enjoy and realigning West Virginia with the rest of the country regarding compulsory immunization for school entrance.
The “Rally for Parental Rights” is a free, public rally coordinated by a grassroots effort called We the Parents that will raise awareness of the legal, medical, and ethical implications of compulsory medical interventions. Parents will share their stories of tragedy, harassment, and discuss how current law impacts and decreases their family’s quality of life. Keynote speakers include representatives from VaxTruth.org, ACLU- WV, and Center for Personal Rights, as well as Patricia Finn, Attorney, PC, parents, families, and military members.
“This is an opportunity for parents to have a voice,“ says Lori Lee, an organizer and parent of two healthy, non-vaccinated children in Jackson County. “Our state government, our legislature is not listening. Concerned parents have been ignored by their own Senators. Senate Bill 50 is stalled in the Senate Education Committee, while many Senators ignore phone calls, faxes, letters, and pleas from their constituents. This is our chance to be heard.” Each day, the Lees drive their children across the border where they are schooled in Ohio. Ohio, is one of the 48 states in the US which provides non-medical exemptions for parents regarding immunizations for school entrance. Ohio offers medical, religious and philosophical exemptions and maintains a higher percentage of children immunized than West Virginia. In fact, based on 2010 data from the Center for Disease Control, 26 additional states which provide simple non-medical exemptions remain at or above West Virginia’s immunization rate (2010 3DTaP % per CDC).
“Current code substantially burdens the free exercise of religion as is protected by the 1st Amendment and is in opposition of the 9th Amendment which guarantees fundamental rights,” says Patricia Finn, Attorney, PC whose law office focuses on clients’ 1st Amendment Rights. A group of parents in West Virginia is working to ensure these rights are given back. Ms. Finn is one of the keynote speakers at the rally.
West Virginia Code (§16-3-4) mandates compulsory immunization, prohibiting parents who object to some or all vaccines from sending their children to public or private schools in the state. It is important to note that this code was introduced in 1931, when only three vaccines were in use (diphtheria, pertussis, and tuberculosis) as opposed to the 14 vaccinations now required for school entry (Four doses of DTaP, 3 doses of Polio, 2 doses MMR, 2 doses chicken pox, 3 doses hepatitis B).
Senate Bill 50 enjoys the support of the community, much of the West Virginia Legislature, and many large groups such as the ACLU-WV, Canary Party, Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), VaxTruth, Center for Personal Rights, and National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). However, if Senator Plymale, Senate Education Chair, refuses to put the bill on the committee’s agenda in the coming week, it will die in committee. To date, he is unresponsive.
In a letter to the West Virginia Senate Education Committee, where the bill is currently awaiting placement on the committee agenda, Jane M. Orient, MD of the AAPS wrote, “We believe that patients, or in the case of children, their parents or guardians, have the right to make their own medical decisions. According to the Nuremberg Code, patients may not be forced to participate in experiments without their fully informed consent.” She further states, “We note that many other states permit non-medical exemptions like that in Senate Bill 50, and no serious public health consequences have been demonstrated. Adverse reactions to vaccines may be serious, permanently disabling, or even fatal in some individuals.”
USA Today, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Herald-Dispatch, Intelligencer: Wheeling News Register, and WTRF have all reported on the debate whirling around flawed public policy and parental rights. We the Parents is fighting for their rights and for their children, and that passion is not easily quelled. They are demanding that the State of West Virginia bring its code in line with the rest of the United States and restore their Constitutional freedoms.
Sign the online petition and help us reach 1000 signatures by Wednesday!
"The right to choose what is injected into your child's body is a decision that should made with due diligence by the parents of a child, as the one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination doesn't look at at the immune response by certain individuals and take into account personal and family medical history.
My own son was given a vaccination for school which was described to me as harmless and having no side effects and no possibility of a reaction, who then collapsed in my arms while coming home from the doctor's office. I frantically turned around and rushed him to the hospital where he, thank God, was revived and stabilized.
I thought I had lost my son forever. I was then told he never could have these vaccinations the rest of his life. Quite a turn around from the day before when told there were never any complications from these inoculations. In most states citizens currently have the legal right to opt out of using vaccines, West Virginia should be no different!"
-- WV State Senator David C. Nohe
At one time, everyone drank raw milk. But with the invention of pasteurization and its alleged safety benefits, consumption of raw milk in this country almost completely disappeared. In fact, in some states it is illegal to sell raw milk. But a growing segment of the population is clamoring for increased access to raw milk, citing its nutritional benefits and recently discovered inbuilt safety mechanisms. Opponents are skeptical of such nutritional claims and believe the safety risks of unpasteurized milk are simply too high.
Join the Food Law Society as we present a debate covering the legal, health, and nutritional merits of raw milk. The participants are:
Fred Pritzker, Pritzker & Olson Law Firm
Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Director, Dairy & Food Inspection Division, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Sally Fallon Morell, President, Weston A. Price Foundation
David Gumpert, Author, The Raw Milk Revolution
When: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm
Where: Harvard Law School, Langdell South Classroom. For those that can’t make it, the event will be live-streamed. Video will also be available after the event.