Raw Milk Gets Another Raw Deal

      46 Comments on Raw Milk Gets Another Raw Deal

It’s comforting to know the police in L.A. are focusing their resources on dangerous criminals. Here’s the opening of a Los Angeles Times story about a recent police raid:

With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts.

Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid’s target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.

Yup, guns drawn and everything.  Apparently the police were warned about the extreme violence that breaks out when hemp-clad owners of organic-food stores are facing arrest.   I heard one cop who raided an organic  joint required a small band-aid on his nose after an angry employee threw a sandal at him.

You can see some footage of the raid as well as some interesting discussion in this video:

Since this incident involves governments and regulations, I’m gong to step up on my political soapbox for moment.  You’ve been warned.

I agree with Mr. Hemminger that the big agri-business corporations push for these regulations to shut down independent suppliers and limit our choices. But what Mr. Hemminger didn’t mention is that the real problem here isn’t corporate power; it’s government power. Without government, corporate power is pretty limited.

A few years ago, I watched a stupid left-wing documentary that compared corporations to sociopaths. As an example, the filmmakers showed how a company that builds water systems moved into a small country and then (according to their narrative) made it illegal for people to collect their own water.  This prompted me to scream at the TV, “How the @#$% can a corporation make anything illegal?!  Corporations can’t pass laws!  The @#$%ing government passed the law!  The @#$%ing government enforced the law!”

The filmmakers’ preferred solution, naturally, was to turn water collection over to “the people” … in other words, the government — the same government that already proved itself corrupt by making it illegal for citizens to collect water. Yeah, that’ll make a difference.

The same principle applies in this case. It doesn’t matter if evil executives at MegaMilk, Inc. want to shut down raw-milk producers; without government, they can’t do it.

The bigger the government, the more opportunity there is for corruption, because corruption is the bastard child of government power.  Power gives you something to sell.  Has a corporation ever tried to bribe you? Your grandmother? Your best friend? Of course not, because you don’t have the power to do anything for them — such as outlaw their competition and call it a “health and safety” regulation. But get yourself appointed to a regulations-writing committee and suddenly your phone will never stop ringing.

It’s not a matter of just convincing the regulators to write the “correct” laws. If they have the power to outlaw products you don’t like, they also have the power to outlaw products you do like. The reality of the situation is that MegaMilk will always be able to offer them a sweeter deal than you or I can. The solution is to take away their power to regulate which products supposedly free adults in a supposedly free country can buy, period. Until we wise up and do that, we’d better get used to scenes like this one.

But in the meantime, I have an idea for how we can make these onerous regulations work in our favor:

Prohibition made The Mafia. Yes, organized crime existed before, but it was Prohibition that made previously small-time gangsters rich and powerful. Legal or illegal, people wanted liquor and were willing to pay for it. So when our government made it illegal for Anheuser Busch and Johnny Walker to take money from drinkers, Al Capone took it instead. He and the other gangsters soon became wealthy enough to hire their own armies and bribe the police to look the other way. (After all, the police had the power to shut them down and were therefore worth corrupting.)

So, here’s what we do: we need to make raw milk incredibly popular, albeit in an underground sort of way. At social gatherings, we can slide up next to the movers and shakers and offer them a hip-flask of the stuff. Raw milk is irresistibly delicious, so we know they’ll want more. After they’re hooked and spread the word, we can open a few Milkeasys in the big cities, complete with milk taps, jazz bands, and a nice selection of raw-milk cheeses.

Once raw milk becomes the new bootleg liquor, today’s small-time producers will become the new Milk Mafia. Newspapers will run scandalous stories about the crimes and extravagant lifestyles of Joey “Milk Moustache” Bambano and Harold “Baby Burp” Nelson. There might even be a shootout or two in Chicago, with raw milk flying everywhere.

Oh, sure, the government will put together a special task force of G-men to harass the new milk lords, but their successes will probably be limited to a few P.R. stunts … the G-men taking an axe to some confiscated jugs of raw milk, that sort of thing. (Let’s just hope they don’t poison the milk and kill a few thousand unsuspecting drinkers, like they did with liquor in the 1930s … yes, our government actually did that.)

The point is, the Milk Mafia will make sure we get our raw milk.  Everyone will know who the local supplier is. (Okay, buddy, just walk over to that door, tap on the sliding window and say “Cream rises to the top.”)  Eventually, raw-milk farmers will be rich enough to bribe the politicians and police to look the other way.  We might even learn a few cops are drinking the stuff when no one’s looking. 

Best of all, the Milk Mafia will have the money to recruit some armed thugs as enforcers.  That way, when the police decide to kick down a door and bust someone for selling raw milk, they’ll actually need those guns.


46 thoughts on “Raw Milk Gets Another Raw Deal

  1. mezzo

    The land of the free and the home of the brave??? What has it morphed into I wonder? How about a good dose of the old pilgrim fathers’ spirit and back to the roots of what made America great? I am sure you still got it in you somewhere!

    There are days when I wonder what country I’m in. If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he’d be shooting at someone.

    I moved to Tennessee partly because California is run by big-government fascists. I’m not ready to leave the country yet, but I can at least live in a sane part of it.

  2. Trish

    If you consider Tennessee a “sane” state I fear for you. I know you live in the Nashville area but eastern Tennessee is full of self-righteous bible thumpers. It’s cheap, though.

    Both left AND right take money from the corporations. The left, however, want to cushion and baby everyone. The right just wants to make money and get re-elected. And we’re the schlubs in the middle. If I believed, I’d say “God help us all.”

    That’s why I want government power reduced, period. Too many people on both the right and the left are perfectly comfortable with intrusive government, as long their side is in control.

    There may be bible-thumpers in eastern Tennessee, but as far as I can tell they have no effect on my life. Not the case with the big-government weenies in California.

  3. Bullinachinashop

    Reminds me of a time when margarine was illegal in Quebec. Small shop owners were routinely getting raided to catch the stuff. To this day, margarine can not be sold while colored like butter (not that I like margarine, but it’s still stupid. The label says MARGARINE, and I’m educated enough to know it doesn’t say BUTTER).

    So sorry to hear California has become like Quebec….we always have some new stupid thing leftists demand while they watch head offices move to Toronto.

    If margarine was illegal, someone who sells butter was behind it.

  4. Dave, RN

    I don’t get thier motivation. When I visited CA in the spring, I was able to buy raw milk at a health food store. If I can buy it at a health-food store, what ‘s the problem with this establishment?

    Beats me. Maybe it’s some kind of local regulation.

  5. Ramona Denton

    I’m in the market for a good state to live in, but I don’t even know the first thing about choosing one by these standards…

    The Weston A. Price foundation site lists information on raw-milk laws around the country.

  6. Lori

    From the article by Deborah Blum,

    “Rigorous enforcement had managed to slow the smuggling of alcohol from Canada and other countries. But crime syndicates responded by stealing massive quantities of industrial alcohol—used in paints and solvents, fuels and medical supplies—and redistilling it to make it potable.”

    Not a few people died or were blinded or disabled by these alcohols as well. (Ever heard of “bad liquor”?) If you got some bad liquor, there was nobody in the legal system to complain to, and a lot of people who were unsympathetic to your problem. The irony: well-off, well-connected people got the good stuff. As usual, the poor got the brunt of it.

    Ms. Blum wrote about this (among other things) in The Poisoner’s Handbook, which I found a fascinating read.

    I’m not a big drinker of either milk or gin, but I’m down with raw cheese, jazz and jitterbugging.

    Good point. When producers are selling a legal product, they’re more likely to maintain high standards.

  7. Andrew

    I gotta ask, what else are these raw-milk hippies packing that requires a gun drawn response? They wear birkenstocks… they’re not going to shoot back.

    That’s what made this whole thing so ridiculous.

  8. Tracee

    They’ve done stings here in Texas. A lady in our area was arrested a few years back. They called her, posed as someone with severe gi issues and convinced her to sell them some raw goat milk. I feel much safer knowing the dirt roads of in our area are free from dangerous goat farmers.

    You’ve made me want to get my old bumper sticker back: “Vote Libertarian, it only feels kinky the first time.”

    Geez, that sure sounds like entrapment to me.

  9. kjd

    Of course, some of us “self-righteous bible thumpers” are also gun-toting, raw-milk drinking, small farm owning libertarians who don’t like being stereotyped anymore than anyone else does. As you said, Tom, another person’s faith (or lack thereof) doesn’t really affect me, unless he’s trying to legislate it, or some other part of his belief system. Then he can cordially piss off.

    I’m not religious, but I don’t understand the hostility towards people who are. If, as you say, they’re trying to impose their beliefs on me, then yes, I’d have a problem with that. But most of the religious conservatives I know lean libertarian and just want the government to leave us alone.

  10. Be

    LMAO. I can’t wait for the movie to come out. What are you gonna call it, ‘The Unhomogonized”?

    But seriously, you are so right – there is no such thing as a “Monopoly” unless it is supported and/or inflicted upon us by Government power. We are still talking about why FDR failed – right?


  11. Dan

    Just another example of the growing police state. If they will do this to peaceful, law-abiding workers at a raw foods store, where do the rest of us peaceful law-abiding citizens stand?

    On a recent John Stossel show, he pointed out that our government passed something like 7,000 pages of new regulations in just the previous year. A lawyer on the show said most Americans break the law regularly and don’t even know it. One guy they interviewed went to prison for selling flowers THAT HE GREW HIMSELF — because they were an “endangered species.” The poor guy had no idea. Naturally, the police showed up in SWAT gear with guns drawn.

    What are we supposed to do, read 7,000 pages of regulations every year to make sure we’re not criminals? It’s insane. This is absolutely nothing like the free society The Founders tried to create.

  12. Rocky

    One definition of an Orwellian society is one that has so many laws that any citizen can be declared a criminal and locked up at the government’s whim.

    It’s now no longer enough to be a “law abiding citizen” because the rules for doing so have become so complex that even the police don’t know them all. The best that an individual can hope for is to remain obscure.

    Compliance is the new freedom. It’s so very sad.

    We’re pretty much there. As the lawyer on Stossel’s show explained, you and I probably break laws all the time.

  13. monasmee

    In his new book “Global Censorship of Health Information” constitutional attorney Jonathan Emord, who has defeated the Food and Drug Administration seven times in federal court, discusses how the government is complicit with the drug industry in exploiting the public. America is no longer a constitutional republic but governed by a “bureaucratic oligarchy,” he declared. The FDA is inherently biased and in favor of the pharmaceutical industry with a mission to approve as many drugs as it can, regardless of whether they are safe or needed– this according to the FDA’s own drug safety researcher David Graham, Emord noted.

    The most pressing problem about the FDA is that they are “unaccountable to the courts, Congress, and the American people,” and operate as a dictatorship, serving the self-interest of the individuals in charge of it, said Emord. The FDA also actively censors health information regarding nutrients, foods, and supplements, such as when cherry tree farmers were told they would be prosecuted if they claimed that cherries had anti-inflammatory properties, even though university studies had found that to be true, he detailed.

    The situation in Europe is a “disaster,” with the impending removal of hundreds of supplements, vitamins, and herbs, which are now considered unsafe unless proven otherwise, Emord reported. In America, “I’ve recommended we pass a bill that I wrote for Congressman Ron Paul that eliminates the FDA’s ability to impose prior restraints on health information,” but still leaving it possible to prosecute in cases where the government finds fraud, Emord stated. He added that we also need to take away the FDA’s drug approval power, and use a blind/unbiased process with university testing, in which the drug company’s name is removed from the application.

    — copied from Coast To Coast AM

    Bingo! That’s government’s legitimate job when it comes to businesses and the products they sell: prosecuting fraud. If you want to sell me a product and I want to buy it, they have no business getting involved unless you’re defrauding me.

  14. Carol Bardelli

    That’s why I live in Nevada. Even brothels and gambling are legal here. Everything is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. No personal state taxes. Advantages for businesses, including my small sole proprietorship. And where I live, there’s no community codes and regulations. If I want to decorate my front yard with rusty beer cans and paint the house psychedelic, no one can stop me.

    Reno has a dairy farm that sells raw milk, but I don’t drink milk. Now, those complimentary Bloody Marys at Terrible’s Casino, those I don’t mind.

    Wait … you mean you don’t have a lot of regulations protecting you? Aren’t people dropping dead left and right?

  15. Jan

    Okay, yes – this was pretty…stupid. Abhorrent, even. But is it just me, or do the police in this video look like they are more than just a little chagrined, if not ashamed, to be doing this? Yeah, they’ve “gone in with their guns drawn”, but not one of them looks as if they’re serious about it.

    Which makes me wonder, where do you draw the line as far as your job is concerned? When do you say, “The law makes no sense – I’m not going to go in there and scare the bejebus out of some poor guy because the milk he sells hasn’t been pasteurized”? Can’t we have just a LITTLE perspective here?!?!?

    My head hurts.

    I’d hate to be a cop given this assignment. The root problem is the regulators and the power we’ve given them.

  16. WordVixen

    From what I understand, Rawsome isn’t a store, it’s some sort of co-op store. Instead of buying a cow or herd share, you buy a share of the business, which entitles you to a certain amount of goods contained in the business, or something like that. Since the members already own the products in the store, Rawsome didn’t obtain a license to sell the raw products (I believe including things other than milk). Technically, they don’t have to obtain a license any more than someone who sells a cow/herd share does in share legal states. But they were raided because “the government” didn’t see it as a share- they see it as a business. Because they’re the government and what they say goes.

    Funny, this just morning I was telling my husband that if Jefferson was still alive he’d either shoot himself, or he’d shoot John Adams for convincing him to get involved in the first place (he didn’t want a government and didn’t want to be a part of a government).

    That’s what I heard too; it’s a co-op. So the police are protecting people from buying products they went out of their way to buy.

  17. Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE

    WordVixen is right.

    Rawesome is a “private buying club”. If you want to buy anything from them (or even enter the store for that matter) you have to sign a contract and pay an annual fee. You don’t make your check out to “Rawesome”; you make it out to cash.

    I am guessing that what they are really upset about is that Rawesome brings in raw milk from an Amish farm. They really don’t like interstate trafficking of raw milk.

    That’s actually a funny image … interstate trafficking of raw milk. I wonder when the cops will start finding raw milk hidden inside of fake beer trucks?

  18. TonyNZ

    “if Jefferson was still alive he’d either shoot himself, or he’d shoot John Adams for convincing him to get involved in the first place.”

    Wouldn’t he already be dead from the unpasteurised milk they would have been drinking in those days?

    Speaking of which, we are calving now, which means milking cows, which means raw milk galore for the next 9 months.
    But I’ll be criticallly ill from the unpasturised nature of it…
    That’ll learn me.

    I wish I could raid your refrigerator.

  19. Shelley

    My brain just did that thing where you’re so taken aback by what you’ve just seen that you just go “what…???” and it takes a few seconds to register what was going on. Talk about a totally ludicrous situation. It just defies belief. And what is so wrong about raw milk anyway? I grew up on a dairy farm, and that’s what we drunk every day. Every morning one of us would go over to the cowshed to get a billy full of milk from the vat before the milk tanker came to collect it.

    My brothers and sisters and I (there are 8 of us!) are all fit and healthy adults. Obviously I can’t say whether the raw milk had anything to do with that, but it certainly didn’t hurt us!

    What’s “wrong” with raw milk is that it competes with the established milk producers. That’s what’s driving this.

  20. Jo

    Wow what an amazing story. I’m on quite a few American based forums and I’m often surprised when on the one hand I hear about American ‘freedom’ while also hearing about people’s liberties being curtailed. Did you notice how often George Bush Jnr used the word ‘freedom’ in his speeches? Seems to me that the more he used the word the more freedoms you lost. Just an opinion from across the pond. At least we know we are oppressed. LOL.

    That George guy sounds interesting – might look into his story a bit more.

    We’ve reached an unfortunate stage in our history where most citizens still think they believe in freedom, yet support regulatating everyone and everything they don’t personally like. They seem believe it’s not a violation of freedom if the majority votes for the regulation because hey, that’s democracy in action. What they conveniently forget is that the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rigths were designed specifically to protect individuals from the whims of majorities.

  21. Shelley

    Haha Tony, yeah, I’m a Kiwi. You know, I don’t think I’ve mentioned the word “billy” with regards to milk for many, many years. It’s funny what slips out when you’re remembering a scenario from the past!

  22. Merope

    Honestly, didn’t anyone catch the little bit about how they could have done this legally “with a licence”? Ok, so maybe those are prohibitively expensive or something, but they *were not* doing this legally.

    But I agree the guns were way over the top. That looked very scary. But that seems a police procedural issue, here (Norway) guns are not routinely even carried. Thus they never would have been drawn for something like this. If guns were drawn in this kind of situation, there would have been a huge media outcry that would totally overshadow the other issues, and probably some cops would have lost their jobs.

    And there have been “raids” on cow-shares here, too, because cow-shares are forbidden. The rules are baroque.

    Licensing is another way governments deny supposedly free adults from making voluntary exchanges. One of the states — can’t remember which off the top of my head — technically allows raw-milk sales by licensed producers, but has never issued a license.

    In Illinois some years back, the state made it illegal to BRAID HAIR FOR MONEY without a beautician’s license. Apparently legislators heard about all those people going to emergency rooms with bad braids.

  23. Jane

    Thanks Tom – for your defense of the right to sell and drink raw milk. I enjoy all of your posts.

    I’m wondering if you might read through the thread linked below — and check out the idea that smoking tobacco might be a healthful thing too. It’s a long thread — and starts slow, but it gets interesting as the primary poster begins to present the evidence.


    I hope you can see the parallels between the war against saturated fat and the war against tobacco.

    Just thought you might be interested.

    I believe smoking can definitely lead to lung cancer, although there are smokers who are healthy and live a long time. As with any drug, there are pros and cons. Nicotine apparently helps with weight loss and concentration and may even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. I found that one interesting because my dad quit smoking at 58 and started showing signs of cognitive decline at 65, although that could of course be a coincidence.

    I also believe the research on the supposed dangers of second-hand smoke was highly manipulated for political purposes. Penn & Teller did an excellent episode of Bull@#$%! on that topic. Neither Penn nor Teller smokes, by the way.

    That being said, while I support the rights of property owners to allow smoking in their establishments — non-smokers are free to avoid those places — I also support the rights of non-smokers not to inhale smoke in publicly-owned places. The government can regulate smoking on its own property.

  24. Jane

    Thanks Tom – I agree with your stance on “second-hand-smoke”. However, I was asking if you (or your readers) might be interested in re-evaluating the evidence about actual first-hand smoke. Or just adding to your/their knowledge. And that thread (although time consuming) presents a lot of evidence. For example you may be interested to know that smoking rodents invariably live longer than non-smoking rodents. (yeah — I know we aren’t rodents — but we know the weaknesses of epidemiology – so we turn to experimental science). UNLESS the rodents are forced to stop smoking — then they develop more tumors. Is it calorie restriction that contributes to the rodents’ longevity? ? Or “reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”? I don’t know… but it’s something. Along with, as you point out the beneficial or preventive effects of nicotine for Alzheimers, Parkinson’s Disease, etc… (BTW – Smoking is not only nicotine, as pharma NRT producers would have you believe — there are numerous other beneficial ingredients in tobacco).

    or… looking at intervention studies…

    “When MRFIT was published in 1982, the disappointing results were summarized nicely in one Wall Street Journal headline, “Heart Attacks: A Test Collapses.” Though slightly more deaths occurred in the treatment group, Taubes shows how heart disease researchers did not let go of the dietary fat/heart disease hypothesis, even when proven wrong.”

    Funny to me how Taubes (and everyone else) ignores the fact that the treatment group were not only the low-fat group, but they were the “ex-smokers” too. The control group was left to keep smoking (and eating) — and more lived. In the one real world test of smoking cessation, it backfired.

    I too am a libertarian, and a low-carb devotee. I just grow tired of smoking being demonized on low-carb blogs (not yours — that’s why I wrote this here). I hope that maybe some people might see the parallels between the received wisdom about smoking and that about “artery clogging saturated fats”.

    I’m sorry about your father. My father, a lifelong smoker, died at 74 from a stroke. But then, HIS father, a life-long non-smoker, died at 60 from a stroke.

    On this: “The government can regulate smoking on its own property.” Well, I agree — although I’m always for accommodating as much as possible all sorts of people and all sorts of lifestyles. That is, I would hesitate to “ban” something, when accommodation can serve the purpose.

    Thanks so much for your time. And thanks (again) so much for your blog – it’s great.

    It would be an interesting topic for someone to explore, and I suspect we’d find some manipulated results as in so many areas of health science. As with any drug, there are pros and cons, like I said.

    But I wouldn’t want to risk lung cancer for the sake of the possible minor benefits (not to mention becoming winded after taking a flight of stairs). People who don’t smoke can develop lung cancer — my maternal grandfather died of lung cancer despite being a nonsmoker — but I don’t like the odds. Smokers are about 20% of the adult population, but make up 90% of the lung cancer cases.

  25. Jane

    I was going to stop talking (since your blog isn’t about smoking and I thought I had said enough off topic ) but… I couldn’t let that go by.

    Actually Tom, according to the CDC, at any given time current smokers make up about 20% of the adult population (add pipe smokers, cigar smokers and closet smokers — and it may well approach or exceed 30%)– and also according to the CDC, Lung Cancer Alliance, and just about any source you choose, current cigarette smokers account for about 20%of lung cancer cases. About 60% of lung cancer cases occur in former smokers which CDC defines as folks who smoked at least 100 cigarettes (5 packs!) during their lives but no longer smoke (former smokers — just like the rodents!) and about 20% of cases are in in never-smokers.

    Of course lung cancer (like most cancers) becomes more of a risk as one ages. Which complicates matters. Older folks are more likely to have done things in their lives.

    Seems to me that the LC stats pretty much mirror the older population these days. Some smokers, some never smokers, and a large group of people who have smoked 5 packs of cigarettes in a lifetime (ex-smokers). Sounds a lot different from what you said “Smokers are about 20% of the adult population, but make up 90% of the lung cancer cases”. That statement’s rather misleading, I think.

    But let’s say there IS an increased risk of lung cancer with smoking. An increased risk that isn’t accounted for by the confounders that smokers are more likely to be poor, work in particular occupations, have different dietary patterns, experience the nocebo effect (being told constantly that they will develop illness) etc… How much increased risk would there have to be to compensate for the decreased risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects, improved concentration, etc… That’s another interesting question — as you called the positive effects of smoking “minor” – Minor? Maybe… maybe not.

    I don’t mean to be confrontational. And I don’t mean to try to convince you to smoke. I personally think that smoking (good unadulterated tobacco) is a traditional form of self-medication, and that smokers self-select. No need to recruit.

    I would like it though if those of us who have thrown off the “artery clogging saturated fats” curse — could start to look critically at another one. That’s all.

  26. Felix

    I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. It’s unpasteurized milk that can contain bacteria which make people sick. Therefore it’s banned in some states. Makes perfect sense to me …

    The “fuss” is a freedom issue. If you’re afraid to drink unpasteurized milk, no one will force you. But for those of us who have done the research and understand the very minimal dangers, it’s really not up to you or the state to decide we can’t be allowed to drink raw milk, even if it “makes perfect sense” to you.

    Maine allows raw milk sales on farms and in stores. Can you point to any headlines about all the raw-milk deaths in Maine? Meanwhile, people have died after contracting food poisoning in restaurants or from government-inspected foods sold in grocery stores. If we’re going to outlaw all foods that “can contain bacteria,” good luck finding anything to eat.

    Or heck, let’s just apply your thinking elsewhere. Alcohol kills thousands of people per year, so we should probably outlaw it. And balloons kill hundreds of kids per year, so we should outlaw those too. And bicycles. And skateboards. And BB guns. And swimming pools.

    Now do you understand the “fuss”?

  27. Jan

    Jane, nothing personal, but that all sounds like one huge rationalization. My mother developed an aeortal aneurysm at 46 and died of a massive heart attack at 51 – it’s rare for a woman to develop heart disease that young. The fact she was a heavy smoker had more than a little to do with that. Perhaps the reason most lung cancer occurs in former smokers is because a great many active smokers die of other smoking-related causes before they have a chance to develop lung cancer? (I have a cousin who, in her mid-thirties, suffers from both emphysema and COPD – things are not looking too terribly good for her, either.)

    And yes, I used to smoke – quitting was the smartest thing I ever did.

  28. D.

    I grew up drinking raw milk. Mom milked the cow every morning and every evening, and we drank that milk, made butter from the cream. Of the 10 of the kids in the family, not one of us ever suffered a broken bone, even with all the spills and falls kids tend to have. In fact, we all, as aging adults, have strong, dense bones, whether from genetics or from drinking that good, unadulterated milk, and we never once suffered from disease due to bad milk. A lot of kids today won’t drink milk. I suppose it could be due to preferring soft drinks over milk, but perhaps milk just doesn’t taste good, the way it did when we drank “real” milk. I sure would like to get some raw milk and raw cream. Why should we even have to refer to it as raw, anyway? What sells in the stores should be called “cooked” milk. If I want my milk cooked, I’ll heat it in a pan and drink it hot!

  29. Jane

    Jan, I am sorry about your mother and cousin. And I fully support your right to smoke or not smoke, as you see fit. I suppose if I have a concern it’s for the current smokers who continue to believe they are doing something unhealthful. As pointed out — that’s 20-30% of the adult population. It’s a pretty big amount of people who may be “hexing” themselves unnecessarily.

    ” Perhaps the reason most lung cancer occurs in former smokers is because a great many active smokers die of other smoking-related causes before they have a chance to develop lung cancer?”

    No, and that wouldn’t explain the effect on rodents anyway (that they have to make them quit to develop tumors).

    I was just trying to point out that Tom’s statement about 90% of LC cases occuring in smokers… was grossly misleading. An example of received spin, I think. (Which I fully understand, it’s inescapable). Based on the numbers, one could as easily state that 80% of LC cases occur in non-smokers (depending on how you count the former 5 packs- in- a- lifetime- or -more smokers)

    To take it a step further, we who embrace a low carb lifestyle like to point out the lack of correlation between high fat countries and heart disease. Well, the same is true of smoking. (French paradox anyone?). The Greeks, the Japanese — heavy smokers (as populations go) and tend to live long lives. We also like to point out such things as confounding in epidemiology, corporate (pharma) interests and so on.

    Or as I mentioned before about MRFIT — the treatment group (low fat diet) also were the smoking quitters — we talk about that evidence (at least Gary Taubes does) WRT fat, but ignore the same evidence on the issue of tobacco.

    Jan, I’m not sure why when we point out things about holes in the dietary fat hypothesis — it’s evidence or discussion, but pointing out the same about tobacco, is rationalization. That doesn’t seem quite right.

    In my first post I provided a link. I admit, it’s a hugely long thread — but anyone with curiousity about how tobacco has been maligned in the same way as dietary fat — may be interested in taking the time to wade through it. The poster “Nightlight” takes the time to present a great deal of evidence (I don’t know where his patience comes from – as he fends off some nasty comments as well). — But anyway, I like to think that evidence is what we’re all about.

  30. Felix

    Does raw milk contain something that you can’t get otherwise? From normal pasteurized milk or other foods? From what I can see in the Google results, there are two camps here, those that say that pasteurized milk is the ultimate health food that cures all ills ranging from allergies to neurodegenerative diseases and the other group that says you’ll die from drinking it because of the bacteria. Both claims are doubted by the other camp (-naturally 🙂 ). I don’t see any raw milk mafia in Germany, where I live. I guess because the demand isn’t there like it is for drugs, for example. I’ve never had a drop of raw milk in my life and I doubt that this is a significant loss of freedom for me.

    If it were up to me, we should legalize everything, even hard drugs for the very reasons you have mentioned. I like Terence McKenna’s quote “If you don’t have the right to put into your body whatever you want, the declaration of independence is not worth the hemp it was printed on.” 🙂 I share the libertarian spirit. But this raw milk-banning is no different from other stupid bans – really, there’s worse stuff to worry about. And making a fuss about milk, sorry, just seems rather funny to me (I mean, come on, it’s milk!). Going all V for Vendetta over milk seems more like a parody on the fight for freedom to me, really.

    Abolish the Fed, or the income tax. Fight against corn subsidies. You have my full support for that. But this milk thing is a quite awkward distraction from actually important stuff in my opinion.

    I agree it’s no worse than most other stupid regulations, and I’m glad to hear we’re on the same pro-freedom side. But when you see police drawing guns in a food co-op store, something is very wrong.

    Yes, raw milk does provide benefits. I find, for example, that if I eat pasteurized cheese, it slows my digestion. Raw-milk cheese doesn’t. Other benefits listed here.


  31. Leta

    I live in Michigan, so I go the herd share route to get my, ahem, unheated goat product. (It’s hair. Hair and meat.)

    Do you know it’s become more difficult to find unpasteurized juices? And honey?! Honey is a natural preservative, for pity’s sake, it literally can keep for thousands of years. (Edible honey has been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs.) Unpasteurized honey can make very young children (<1 yr) ill, I get that, but what about the rest of us?

    Here’s my take: Let me choose. You don’t wanna drink raw milk? No prob. But what is up with this nanny state, protecting me from my own choices stuff? LET ME CHOOSE.

    Slightly OT: What do you think of Teddy Roosevelt? Being the Trustbuster and all. I think corporations can become monopolies without any gov’t intervention. Do you think it’s a legitimate use of gov’t to break up a free market monopoly? (I tend toward yes, but I’m a mixed economy kinda gal, not a 100% capitalist.)

    Not a big fan of TR. Monopolies rarely survive without government assistance. The theory is that monopolies will rise, corner the market and raise prices. But high prices attract competition, usually from companies that are leaner and meaner. IBM was once considered an unstoppable monopoly. Look what happened to them. Their fate is proof that while politicians love to talk about some big company “controlling the market,” the fact is that consumers control the market.

    What’s especially interesting is that TR went after trusts for supposedly colluding on prices, then during the Depression FDR ordered companies to collude on prices and prosecuted those who sold at a lower price. Depending on which president was in office, companies have at various times faced these choices:

    Charge more than others — prosecuted for monopoly pricing
    Charge less than others — prosecuted for predatory pricing
    Charge the same as others — prosecuted for colluding on prices

    Thomas Sowell on TR:

  32. Jane

    A related issue — I’m finding it hard to buy cream that doesn’t have added ingredients (carageenan and other things). Only one dairy (of those represented in my local supermarkets) sells cream that is just cream (I don’t really want the seaweed and other stuff). And only one local supermarket carries that brand.

    Okay — I can deal with the added vitamin D (milk), I can deal with pasteurization (although I suspect raw milk is better, but I’ve never had it) — but I’d really like to buy cream that is simply cream.

    To date that’s not really a freedom issue — it’s an annoyance issue. But as I see the pure cream-less future coming — I’d sure like to be able to form my own deal with a local dairy farmer — to get the product that I want. But I guess my government will protect me from that too.

    We’re fortunate that a dairy here sells the real stuff. They can’t sell raw milk because their products are stocked in grocery stores, but their cows are 100% free-range and grass-fed, they pasteurize at the lowest temperature and shortest duration allowed, and there’s nothing in their milk and cream besides milk and cream. And yes, it’s delicious.

  33. Rocky

    I went to a farmer’s market and spoke with a licensed raw milk seller here in Texas this weekend. According to this guy, there are 55 licensed raw milk vendors in Texas, up from 10 in 1993. Texas law requires that the sellers sell only from their farm. They cannot sell off property or even deliver the milk to the customer’s house.

    There’s legislation being proposed this Fall in Texas that would allow these licensed vendors to sell their product anywhere in the state, not just on their own property.

    While such a law would be a positive thing, the tragedy remains that it’s still the government’s decision. Like you say, a victory is not that the government decides in one’s own favor, a true victory is the government having no authority over the matter.

    Exactly right. We shouldn’t need Big Brother’s permission in the first place.

    I some Congressman on TV during a town hall meeting — can’t remember which one, but he was from California — who explianed that in his opinion, the Constitution allows the Congress to pass pretty much any law it wants. (So what’s the point of having a Constitution, genius?) Now that’s a scary man. I want to re-animate and re-elect Grover Cleveland, who set a record for vetoing legislation, usually after declaring it outside the bounds of the Constitution.

  34. Kate

    Second hand smoke almost always triggers an asthma attack. This is not proof positive, merely an antecedent. Naturally I try to avoid the stuff as much as possible.

    One silver lining for the ever increasing fascist state is that smoking will eventually be banned in the US. Then instead of dying in the ER of an asthma attack due to a 14 hour wait brought on by Obamacare, I’ll die of a police gunshot wound brought on by breaking one of those laws I didn’t know existed.

    That’s one of the reasons I have no objection to banning smoking in public places where people can’t avoid it. Asthma or not, who wants to get smoke in their clothes, their hair, their eyes, etc? I always enjoyed the non-smoking nights at comedy clubs because my jacket would be same color after the show as before.

  35. Jane

    Tom — By public places I assume you mean those “owned by the government” as you stated before. Not private property like bars and restaurants and other privately owned establishments.

    “Asthma or not, who wants to get smoke in their clothes, their hair, their eyes, etc?”

    Many of us, it doesn’t bother at all. And one wonders how much social conditioning plays a role – for those who find it unpleasant – like vegans becoming sick from the smell of steak cooking, or like what was once called the “Negro stench”, or the “fœtor Judaicus” (“Jewish stink”)) I realize that those references are outrageous and vile — I’m simply trying to illustrate a point about smell and culture/belief/conditioning.

    I smoke tobacco (really??) but I have a woodstove as well — I’m pretty much going to smell like smoke whatever I do. (As an aside, my daughter once noted “if humans weren’t generally tolerant to organic smoke, humanity wouldn’t have gotten very far… I mean there’s cooking, heating, transportation… “)

    I’ve always found the smell of tobacco pleasant It’s just a leaf. Before they banned burning leaves in the fall, who didn’t love that smell? I like the smell of curry too, and patchouli — and steak. A matter of taste or fashion, I suppose. I hate the smell of busses and some trucks (is that the smell of diesel or what?). That smell makes me feel nauseated. I don’t really know why.

    @Kate — (your second paragraph made me laugh! – Get in line…) I would never argue with your experience — OTOH – I have two friends who tell me that they smoke tobacco to relieve their asthma symptoms. I don’t argue with them either. (I’ve run into folks online who claim the same — and I’m told — (in the 1940’s?) that tobacco used to be prescribed for asthma) (I don’t have asthma — so no personal experience to relate). I once smoked a clove cigarette and it made me cough. But I have friends who enjoy them. People are different.

    Again however, although I know that folks like to talk about second-hand-smoke — but the reason I posted after many months of reading this blog — was to introduce the idea that first-hand tobacco use may be a healthful thing. I thought that folks who could look at the dietary fat – heart disease hypothesis with an open mind to evidence, especially those who already use tobacco, might like to do the same with tobacco. For me, it’s been the same as breaking out of the fat-is-bad matrix. You move from “maybe it’s not as bad as I thought” to “maybe there are actually some benefits” to “Hey! I’ve been lied to all along!”. And then you relax and enjoy.

    Yes, I was referring to public property. Even as a non-smoking comedian, I supported the right of comedy-club owners to allow smoking in their own establishments. Most of them handled it by having non-smoking nights. Some also made the first shows on weekends non-smoking. Let people work it out, and they usually will.

    Anecdotally, my mom developed asthma that didn’t go away until she stopped smoking. My paternal grandfather, a heavy smoker, died with barely any intact lung tissue remaining. I accept that in this area, as in many areas of science, the research may be exaggerated or manipulated, but I’d never take up smoking cigarettes to improve my health. I enjoy my cigars, but like Bill Clinton, I don’t inhale.

  36. Bruce

    Next, the cops will be forced to go after the roadside farm stand. No more fresh corn on the cob for you buster!! You will be allowed to have it at your local restaurant though. All nicely boiled for 5 hours, so that you cannot tell the difference between the corn and the cob.

    On smoking: I am an ex smoker. More or less. I still smoke on fishing trips (twice a year), because…well I don’t know why. I live in Illinois which went non smoking everywhere a few years ago, and then Wisconsin did the same this year. I miss enjoying a smoke at a bar, but, I do not miss the smell of 20 year old rancid smoke on my clothes the next day. Most of the restaurants/bars that I would frequent in both of these areas took the time to totally clean their establishment right before the ban. Many of them painted the place also. And I enjoy going to them more. I do not feel like I have to throw my clothes away the next day.

    Regarding burning leaves. I will have a ton of them in my yard soon. Burning them was outlawed about 10 years ago. People that have respiratory problems forced the ban on burning, because during the spring and fall they could not get away from them. I found that the spring burning would cause me to have a sore throat and start coughing. I think this was caused by lazy people that would just let the wet leaves smolder. During the day it wasn’t too bad. But at night the smell would linger in your house and bedroom. I enjoyed the smell at first, but sleeping in a smokehouse is not good.

  37. Dan

    “Did you notice how often George Bush Jnr used the word ‘freedom’ in his speeches? Seems to me that the more he used the word the more freedoms you lost. Just an opinion from across the pond. At least we know we are oppressed. LOL.”

    He started wars to allegedly protect our freedom and used those wars as an excuse to curtail freedom. The current administration is continuing the tradition of curtailing freedom in different ways.

    Laws are getting very capricious, as well as too numerous to keep up with. Police could arrest you for anything they perceive as “interfering with a police officer” or “resisting arrest.”

    As for smoking, I have heard of primitive people who smoked, but stayed healthy. Could it be that their traditional diets protected them from the “harmful effects” of tobacco? Also, our tobacco is sprayed with pesticides and, no doubt, highly processed. Could that be a factor in the “harmful effects” of tobacco? People smoked back in colonial times and before. I wonder what ill health effects they experienced. I don’t smoke and don’t plan to. I’m just offering more food for thought. I don’t want to smell other peoples’ smoke, but support their right to smoke if they chose.

  38. Jane

    I have a rule of thumb that whatever a government act or policy is called — it means the opposite. That way it all makes sense. For example, the Patriot Act. (uhh.. yeah…). Or — “Obamacare” is actually “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. (Patient Protection?? Affordable to whom?).

    WRT to my comments about tobacco, please note that I am always speaking of pure unadulterated tobacco. Comparing most commercial cigarettes (especially those “fire-safe” atrocities mandated in many states now) to actual tobacco is like condeming food because of Twinkies.

    “I don’t want to smell other peoples’ smoke, but support their right to smoke if they chose.”

    As I said — second-hand-smoke is a whole ‘nother issue but… You have to wonder… Just where do we draw lines on the impact of other people on ourselves and vice-versa. I don’t really want to smell or breathe other people’s car exhaust – but of course I do it every day. And I’m not crazy about other people’s boats discharging gas and oil and other stuff into “my” river. I share a fence with a neighbor who let’s his weeds grow on his side of the fence. Of course, I’m always weeding “his” weeds that grow through the fence into my garden. People’s actions DO have impacts on other people. You can’t avoid that. And things that I may find unnecessary, others may find necesssary (my community sprays for mosquitos – even though I have “opted out” for my property, I get the over-spray whether I want it or not). I don’t know the answer to these issues — but I do believe that we should be as liberal as possible about other tolerating people’s activities — even (or especially) when they annoy us (that is, I don’t really want to ban my neighbor from growing weeds, or boaters from boating – what a world that would be).

    To me, it’s kind of like free speech. Popular ideas need no protection. It’s the unpopular speech we must protect. Same goes for unpopular freedoms.

  39. Carol Bardelli

    Re: Wait … you mean you don’t have a lot of regulations protecting you? Aren’t people dropping dead left and right?

    20 years in lawlessness and I haven’t stepped over any bodies yet. Lawmakers have too much time on their hands to write dumb laws. I say we require that each one of them has to write every bill out in long hand before they can vote on them.

    I’d support that one. My other idea, since they’ve written so many laws that most people are lawbreakers now, is to have a team of legal experts follow key congresspersons and arrest them as soon as they break one of their own laws.

  40. Dana

    Best of all, the Milk Mafia will have the money to recruit some armed thugs as enforcers. That way, when the police decide to kick down a door and bust someone for selling raw milk, they’ll actually need those guns.

    You just shot a hole in your own sort-of-pro-corporation argument. If a ragtag collection of individual citizens can hire thugs, so can a corporation, which potentially has access to far more funding through its shareholders.

    You yourself are having trouble raising the funding for a sequel to Fat Head. How are you going to hire an entire army? Who do you know, among the individual, un-corporation/government-affiliated citizens you know, who could hire that army for you?

    This is how they get away with crap in the Third World. Governments in other countries can be more brazen than ours, and overlook far more misdeeds. This, not wages, is the real reason American corporations relocate overseas–the employees are far easier to bully.

    Even if the government of the third-world country in question is somewhat honest, could you picture the government of the Congo going up against, say, Nike? Who’s got more money and political clout? I rest my case.

    This stuff is all nice in theory. Doesn’t match up with the reality though, all too often.

    Well, the bit about the Milk Mafia was tongue-in-cheek of course, but true libertarians aren’t pro-corporation. We’re pro-freedom. Plenty of corporations have no problem using the runaway power of government to squash their competition. And of course a corporation that actually hired thugs to coerce people into making deals they didn’t want to make would be violating libertarian principles. (Only the government can legally hire thugs to force people to make deals they don’t want to make. That’s why I’m anti-government.)

    Notice that term “political clout” you just used. If government’s power is limited to protecting liberry and property, enforcing legal contracts and punishing fraud (as The Founders intended), how exactly does anyone use “political clout” to his or her advantage? Clout means using government power in your favor. Take away the power, there is no clout.

    And without governments getting involved, how exactly would Nike “bully” employees? By offering them jobs? By offering people in third-world countries a job you personally wouldn’t like, at a payscale that wouldn’t be acceptable in America? If the potential employees don’t like the terms, they’re free to say no. If they choose the job, even under terms you or I would consider unacceptable, then it’s because the job Nike is offering is better than the job (or lack thereof) they have now.

    My great-grandfather worked a in dirty, dangerous coal mine. I wouldn’t take that job today because I have better options. But for him, having left Ireland during a starvation, it was the best option at the time.

    What’s nice in theory but doesn’t match reality is that regulators in government are selfless do-gooders who only want to protect us.

  41. Levi

    As much as I dislike this type of coercion I’m not entirely convinced of the value of unpasteurized milk. I simply don’t want to get any diseases which can be spread through unpasteurized milk. That being said, I fully appreciate government regulation of milk but I think raw milk should be offered to the public if they want it. Then again, I also believe the same for marijuana.

    That’s the great thing about freedom. You can avoid the foods you don’t want, choose the ones you think are beneficial, and leave others to do the same. If only our government grasped the concept.

  42. Charlotte

    I loved this article! Made me laugh imagining the Milk Mafia!! In response to Levi: Look up E-coli poisoning….people have died who didn’t even eat the contaminated beef…..Government inspected, corporate beef!! So leave me and my raw milk alone!


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