The Older Brother: Right Again, Dammit

Greetings Fatheads,

Well, it’s sure been an eventful year in Illinois politics, what with the veto-proof Democratic legislature and the Republican governor putting together a surprise last-minute deal for an honest-to-goodness balanced budget that will get the 100+ billion pension debt paid down over the next ten years, AND address the unfunded state retiree health benefit obligations ($56 B), while knocking down the $5+ billion backlog of bills to vendors dating back over a year now, and simultaneously restoring state services to the indigent, and even finally opening our state museum and public parks again.

PSYCH!

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

Man, if you could see the look on your face! Sometimes, I just crack myself up.

Actually the unfunded pension liability rose over $6 billion last year to over $111 billion (in a record up market), retiree health beneficiaries are one year closer to insolvency, and state vendors (including social service NFP’s) are still registering red on the “How Screwed Are We?” meter, but at least according to the budget — …

Oh wait, there is no budget.

I don’t mean a budget for this year. I mean the fiscal year 2015 budget, that started July 1, 2015 and is ending in less than two months. They haven’t finished passing a budget for that. It’s not looking so good for 2016 either.

Not to worry — welfare checks and state worker checks (including the legislators who haven’t passed a law to pay anything) are still going out. Just not the ones for if you, say, sold the state some office supplies; or rent a building to them; or provide care to the mentally disabled. Little stuff like that.

You would be forgiven for thinking that our elected officials, who are demonstrably incapable of discharging even their most basic, simple tasks, are just absolutely useless. You couldn’t be more wrong — they’re much worse than useless.

They may not be able to do things like pass a budget and allocate funds for things like taking care of poor people, funding schools, building roads, and sundry other basics that even libertarians like me understand people now want government to do (not agree, of course, but understand); but that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy.

Sorry. I know I didn’t give you a “Politics!” trigger warning, but that’s not the real point of this post. Here’s the point:

As I confidently predicted here and reiterated here, the bureaucrats have completed their inevitable march to addressing one of the most dangerous health scourges facing our nation…

… yes, after three years, the $100,000 a year, state-employed lick-spittle turds who are being funded by the USDA to get raw milk out of the market apparently wore down the mom-and-pop operators who had to take time off (lose income) every time they (re-)proposed new regulations.

Remember kids — regulators never get you with brains, competence, or results. They always win by exhaustion.

As elaborated in my prior posts, they can’t just make raw milk illegal. When they want to take away something the Bigs (Ag, Pharma, Banking, or in this case Milk) don’t want to have to compete with, they just regulate you to death.

[Here’s the short version if you didn’t read those previous posts:

“after over a hundred people showed up to politely but loudly protest the state’s heavy-handed actions, I noted:

‘I’ve heard from a couple of folks who think the regulators got an education on raw milk… Maybe the bureaucrats would change things up substantially.  Maybe even remove impediments to raw milk while setting a few common-sense protocols, as it fits in with the buy local/real foods programs the state and others talk up.’

Feeling I had a better understanding of bureaucratic sausage-making than those good, honest people, I ended with…

‘I’m guessing they’ll lay low for a few months or more, and then pass pretty much all of those rules as is, maybe without the 100 gallon limit.  Or maybe they’ll bump the limit to 500 gallons.  But they didn’t learn anything, and they’re there to pass those rules.’

It’s what they do.]

The first posts were after a 2013 hearing. The followup was from 2014. Our betters had to lay in the weeds for over another year, but then they did exactly what I said they’d do. It’s like Gravity.

Right again. Dammit.

So starting in July, when I go to Linda’s farm — where I can always walk around and see the cows my milk comes from, and see the operation, and walk through the barn she milks in, there will be a few other things in place.

For my protection, of course.

Like, she’ll have to get a permit from the insolvent Illinois government. But first,she’ll have to complete an inspection by the incompetent Illinois government. She’ll have to take samples and pay for a lab to test the milk for a few weeks to get the permit, then do regular ongoing tests. Any day anyone buys milk, she’ll have to store a sample of the milk for two weeks. If the department doesn’t like the way her barn looks, they can shut her down until she makes it look nice to them and they re-inspect her. Getting an inspection rescheduled could be difficult as the state doesn’t have a budget, so they can’t hire more inspectors, and even if it did they don’t have any money to pay for more inspectors.

[They can also shut her down if one of her free-ranging egg chickens walks through the milk barn. Hey, it sounds harsh, but you have to be cautious about  the whole “avian flu” thing that used to wipe out whole geographic areas of birds and spread disease until we started safely housing hundreds of thousands of chickens in legal, government approved and inspected warehouses; cutting their beaks off; and force feeding them antibiotics. Hmmm, I may have that backwards.]

Every time I buy a gallon of her delicious “creamy milk” (as The Grandkids call it), she’ll have to write my name, address, and phone number in a log that she has to keep for six months and make available to the egregiously misnamed Department of Public Health. She’ll have to have a placard up (in letters at least 2 inches high) that states:

“”Warning: Milk that is not pasteurized is sold or distributed here. This dairy farm is not inspected routinely by the Illinois Department of Public Health”

Wooooooo. Scary. It’s supposed to be, anyway.

Also, she’ll have to provide me with “Department-approved consumer awareness information.” It will say things like:

“”WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain pathogens that cause serious illness, especially in children, the elderly, women who are pregnant and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Plus, it’s now illegal for any raw milk producer to sell yogurt or cheese made with their raw milk, even if they pasteurize it as part of the process. Wouldn’t want any of these folks being able to earn a value-added premium for their products.

One of the last items in the new reg states that the Department can suspend or revoke the dairy farm permit whenever:

“the Department has reason to believe that a public hazard exists”

So since “the Department” is being funded by the USDA, and the USDA’s position is that there is absolutely no such thing as a safe glass of raw milk, somewhere down the line, you can bet “the Department” will determine that they have reason to believe that anyone producing and selling raw milk constitutes a public hazard.

I’ll say it again,

“It’s what they do.”

I feel so much safer.

Tom should be back next week, hopefully with highlights of the Low Carb Cruise. Thanks for stopping by.

Cheers!

The Older Brother

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27 thoughts on “The Older Brother: Right Again, Dammit

  1. Jennifer Snow

    You should protest by marching into the Capitol building and hosing the place down with raw milk.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      Former governor and convicted felon (which is actually redundant in Illinois) got rid of the death penalty right before he left office. By executive fiat, not by actually getting a law passed.

      I’m guessing one of the few things they might make an exception for would be subjecting an elected official to real food. Some crimes are just too heinous.

      Cheers

      Reply
      1. j

        Although…elected officials and their families probably eat and have access to better foods (fancy restaurants, chefs, etc) than most people do..

        Obama’s kids dont appear to get the same lunches that the average kid gets under Michelle’s school lunch initiative..

        Reply
        1. The Older Brother Post author

          True. There’s any number of sites that show the menu from Sidwell, the private school of the DC elite, including the Obama kids. Here’s a sample week’s menu:

          “Potato Sausage Soup; Firecracker Slaw; California Chef’s Salad; All Natural Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings; Sweet Potato Black Bean Bake; Sautéed Local Greens; Gemelli Alfredo; Sliced Pineapple.”

          The Older Brother

          Reply
        2. Walter Bushell

          Well you do know politicians have to lie, to be elected and they have to answer to their bosses, that is their major campaign contributors.

          Bringing children’s school lunches up to acceptable standards would upset a lot of powerful people and cost much $$$. It would be well worth it in terms of health of the upcoming generation. Since we will spend megabucks to keep people from dying, but not much to keep their health up; this will probably not happen. Butt it should.

          Reply
          1. The Older Brother Post author

            Sorry, but We are their bosses. Americans will not vote for anyone who doesn’t promise them that they will provide free stuff and make someone else pay for it. Major campaign contributors understand this perfectly and use it to their advantage. How much money do you think [insert favorite big buck donor/villain here] would donate if the entire federal budget were 25% of what it is today, and the government was operating within the constraints of the Constitution?

            If we just stopped government funded school meals, that would improve childrens’ health, too. Plus it would be free. If there’s mega-bucks involved, that means there’s mega-incentives for mega-companies to belly up to the trough. It is, as I’ve said, what they do.

            Cheers!

            Reply
  2. Tom Welsh

    What imbecility. Half of the best European cheeses are unpasteurized! Where would we be without our Brie, Camembert, Comte, Parmesan, Reblochon, Roquefort…?

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      If you’re in the US, you’re not really eating Brie, Camembert, etc. Not legally, anyway. Since 2004, it’s been illegal to sell any cheese made from unpasteurized milk that has been aged less than 60 days, which pretty much means all of the soft cheeses.

      So you have to stick with the fake stuff, preferably on a hearthealthywholegrain cracker.

      The Older Brother

      Reply
      1. BobM

        I did not know that. I look for raw milk cheeses and also milk by grass-fed cows. Finding both together is rare. I usually eat hard cheeses, so I haven’t looked for raw milk soft cheeses, but it’s hard enough to find raw milk hard cheeses that I don’t doubt you are correct.

        I guess I could take up making my own cheese with raw milk, which we can find here in CT. However, I don’t drink milk, so I never buy it. I was thinking of getting it for making yoghurt, though.

        Maybe I should rethink that, though, for our kids. I do let them eat cheese made from raw milk, but not regular milk (though finding both raw milk and grass fed is basically impossible).

        Reply
        1. The Older Brother Post author

          Interesting. I always kind of thought “raw milk” and grass-fed cows went together like peas and carrots. There’s a large, but not complete overlap in the terms “grass-fed” and “pastured.” I wouldn’t personally be concerned seeing pastured instead of grass-fed on a label, but I wouldn’t be interested in raw milk products from a grain-fed herd.

          Yogurt is probably the easiest way to try home-made dairy products. It’s kind of like compost — about the only thing you can do wrong is think about it too much. It’s been awhile, but I’ve made some awesome Halloumi cheese. It’s a step or two up on the difficulty scale because you need rennet, you’er working within some timed and controlled temperatures, and you’ve got to press it, but it’s worth it. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a brined Greek cheese that doesn’t melt when heated, so you can throw it on the grill or griddle, brown it like French toast, then drizzle a little honey over it.

          Now I made myself hungry.

          Cheers

          Reply
    2. gollum

      Yeah well, things are not so glorious over here as you might assume.

      A lot of the cheeses are made from pasteurized milk – almost all of them, by volume. Raw milk cheeses still carry a warning label or at least a prominent note about raw milk, and 10 bucks for 2 pounds is considered cheap.

      Like, if you want “real” Brie and Camembert, that will be Brie de Meaux or Camembert Normandy AOP for you, a price multiplier of 2 to 5.

      Many hard cheeses are technically made from raw milk but the cheesing process involves “burning” the curds, killing most of the bacteria and any health bonuses you may have counted on.

      But we can get indeed real yoghurt (sour balkan-style, too) with living cultures.

      I can’t really comment on the public health, I am sure the farmers and their clients think they are not so useful. I mean, who buys raw milk and doesn’t know what it is? A warning sticker should be okay.

      Just what I remembered, salmonella, listeria and whatnot are (now?) routinely found in supermarket foods, lebensmittelwarnung.de is pretty scary. Many items that never saw a cow’s behind too, or shouldn’t have, like spices. Spices! How do India and her importeurs handle that? Print “Do not consume uncooked” on the packages.

      Reply
  3. Myles

    Here in San Antonio, a local raw milk distributor had over 700 gallons of milk wasted due to distributing off his farm. Kind of makes you sick. Luckily the guy is pretty close to my house, so I am sure to pick up a gallon or two every couple of weeks. I’m pretty sure that the fast food industry, and other big agra strokers kill more. Not to mention the folks who write our dietary guidelines. You can have as many cokes, ice cream cones, and pizzas “in moderation” as you would like, but God forbid you have some raw milk. That stuff will kills, ya know? Here is a link to the story. (BTW, the folks on this farm take great care of their cows.)

    http://www.foodrenegade.com/texas-forces-raw-milk-dairy-dump-700-gallons-of-milk/

    Reply
    1. Firebird

      Here in New Jersey we have an obese governor who needed bariatric surgery to lose weight (and is still obese) telling us that we, too, cannot have raw dairy.

      Reply
  4. Mark

    In Australia, we had a vicious outbreak of salmonella in packets of raw lettuce. I kept straining my ears for the howls of protest to ban raw lettuce, but nope, nothing.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother Post author

      If the government was really protecting consumers instead of Big Food producers, based on the epidemiology, the grocery stores should have to post the following over the produce section on large letters:

      “WARNING: These products have been shown to contain pathogens that have caused serious illness and death, especially in children, the elderly, women who are pregnant and persons with weakened immune systems.”

      Don’t see that happening.

      Cheers

      Reply
  5. Firebird

    Great scene(s) from the POP TV series “Schitt’$ Creek”. The episode involved Eugene Levy’s character becoming interested in testing the raw milk market to see if it is a viable business.

    They don’t show how it ends, but you can imagine it is not good.

    Reply
  6. James H.

    Tom,

    Boy oh boy, since the days of the Vietnam War it has been my firmly held belief that a politician simply cannot be trusted. Even if the pre-political man or woman is known to be a fine, moral person, as soon as he or she is elected I color that person with the jaundice-yellow tint of untrustworthiness. This belief has served me well over the past several decades. The taxpayers in Illinois seem to have more than their fair share of The Untrustworthy. (And Illinois apparently has plenty of the “illiterati” more than willing to vote for Santa Claus.)

    James H.

    Reply
  7. Bret

    Regulators are not interested in the town halls they attend. I’m sure they view them as PR opportunities at best, and certainly they regard the attendees themselves as nuisances. Conscious thoughts and personal character aside, these goons have absolutely no incentive to value or promote economic freedom…quite the opposite, in fact.

    Speaking of politics, I do have to hand it to Mr. Trump, because I believe the speculative articles I have been reading are correct, in that his nomination should inspire droves of conservatives to look into and learn about libertarianism for the first time this year. Either way, it will be a disaster for the Republicans, the likes of which they have had coming for well over a decade. I’m overjoyed that the particular manifestation we are witnessing is so comical.

    Reply
  8. The Older Brother

    The regulatory mindset, and it’s reaction in the presence of intelligent life, was the focus of the first link above.

    I’m cautiously optimistic on the impending implosion of the Republican party. Well, it’s not going to implode so much as be abandoned.

    I’ve been around too long though to think that the average Republicanish American is going to suddenly realize that libertarianism is what they really believed in all along, but just couldn’t support it because of limited viability.

    They’ll “hold their nose” and vote for the fascist, and within a year they’ll swear that xenophobia and closed markets have always been core Conservative values.

    Cheers

    Reply
    1. Bret

      Perhaps my original point was not clear: I don’t expect Republican voters, who have spent decades reinforcing their biases, to give up on the GOP suddenly. I do expect a lot of them to at least research and consider the libertarian aspect, with a relatively small portion actually jumping ship. The rest will definitely vote for Trump…the disaster I mentioned will be (1) that enough voters will not vote for him in order to guarantee Clinton the election and have a third consecutive Democrat presidential victory and (2) the embarrassment of having nominated and fielded Trump, completely against the wishes of the GOP/RNC leaders.

      Knowing those leaders and the party at large, I expect them to double down on their dinosaur practices in future elections, and Trump or no Trump, I expect the party to continue to decline. I surely do hope it goes extinct, even if we have to tolerate 20 straight years of Democratic victories in the WH and off-and-on Democrat control of Congress. The country will end up much better off because of it.

      Reply
      1. The Older Brother Post author

        We’re probably more in agreement than not.

        I wouldn’t give better than even odds of Hillary getting elected, though. One of the sole sources of Trump’s populist appeal is that he has no filter and won’t have a problem tarring Hillary with all of the sleaze she’s been steeping herself in since she indirectly entered politics on Bill’s coattails.

        Unlike actual Republicans, he doesn’t just insinuate something, then wet himself and apologize at the first challenge by the media.

        We’re not going to end up better off no matter how this turns out.

        Cheers

        Reply
        1. j

          Everyone underestimated Trump from day one… How’s that working out so far? XD
          Has no one noticed the record numbers in republican voter turnout, which includes democrats voting Republican?
          He’s gonna put America and its citizens first. I’m glad he’s an egomaniac because it means he’ll do a good job or at least put up a hell of a fight.
          As far as country ending up “better” after 20 years of democrat policy… well, sounds a lot like destroying the village in order to save it.
          Not voting for Trump equals a vote for Hillary.. So pick your poison..
          In any case Trump vs Hillary will be the spectacle of a lifetime.. It’s gonna be yuuuge.. Enjoy

          Reply
          1. The Older Brother Post author

            Yes — because if you don’t vote for cyanide, arsenic wins! Pretty sure I’m going to decline drinking from either cup, thanks.

            Cheers

            Reply
  9. Desmond

    Here is the next step to this:

    1) In 5 years someone will go thro’ all the records collected by the dairy farmers and discover that no one has gotten sick from drinking raw milk.
    2) The obvious conclusion is that the added bureaucracy works! (The other possibility, that raw milk was never actually dangerous, will naturally be rejected.)
    3) This will reinforce the need for even more regulations.

    Reply

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