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In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bloggers Drive Me Crazy

Here's a story that is intended to make your eyes pop out of your head.

From Axis of Logic:

Manna Storehouse began 9 years ago as a small ordering group called the Stowers Co-op. At the beginning, it was run by John & Jackie Stowers and their 2 oldest boys, Chris & Chad. Eventually we expanded from 3 families to over 60 regular customers. Within the last 3 years, we have gone through a major transition time. We began ordering on a weekly basis, plus splitting cases for our customers and selling the left over items as retail. Thus, the Stowers Co-op became Manna Storehouse, creating what is now a non-working food co-op. ...

On Monday, December 1, a SWAT team with semi-automatic rifles entered the private home of the Stowers family in LaGrange, Ohio, herded the family onto the couches in the living room, and kept guns trained on parents, children, infants and toddlers, from approximately 11 AM to 8 PM. The team was aggressive and belligerent. The children were quite traumatized. At some point, the “bad cop” SWAT team was relieved by another team, a “good cop” team that tried to befriend the family. The Stowers family has run a very large, well-known food cooperative called Manna Storehouse on the western side of the greater Cleveland area for many years. There were agents from the Department of Agriculture present, one of them identified as Bill Lesho. The search warrant is reportedly supicious-looking [sic].

Agents began rifling through all of the family’s possessions, a task that lasted hours and resulted in a complete upheaval of every private area in the home. Many items were taken that were not listed on the search warrant. The family was not permitted a phone call, and they were not told what crime they were being charged with. They were not read their rights. Over ten thousand dollars worth of food was taken, including the family’s personal stock of food for the coming year. All of their computers, and all of their cell phones were taken, as well as phone and contact records. The food cooperative was virtually shut down. There was no rational explanation, nor justification, for this extreme violation of Constitutional rights.

Doesn't that make your blood boil? It's designed to. It's almost perfect propaganda. The Axis of Logic site is run by people who "identify 'Corporate Global Empire' as our common foe and the enemy of the people. We believe that all current, viable political parties in the U.S. are in service to the empire and do not represent the people." They tackle the stories the mainstream media won't tell you. They are from a number of countries, but this particular article appears to be written from Venezuela, where the Axis is a supporter of Hugo Chavez.

That's not the problem here. After all you can find any number of American blogs that contain or reprint this story in all its gory details: the SWAT team, the children with guns pointed at their head, the recriminations for the crime of not cooperating with the evil government.

There seems to be one slight problem with this scenario. It may not be true. Not even close to the truth.

It took more than a week after the raid for the police side to get out. When the police are at fault in a situation - and they often are - the aftermath is almost consistent: defensive tones, attacks on the victims, implications of huge crimes committed and/or prevented by their actions. These are so futile they work about as well as writing GUILTY on their foreheads.

That's one reason I find the police statement more convincing than the bloggers.

Here's what the Cleveland Plain Dealer, admittedly one of the mainstream newspapers, has to say.
[T]he Lorain County Sheriff's Office, which conducted the "raid" along with the county Health Department and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, is puzzled by the outcry over what it calls the "very uneventful" execution of a simple search warrant. ...

[Sheriff's Capt. Richard] Resendez said four deputies conducted the search over three or four hours - not the nine claimed on some sites. There was no SWAT team and no semiautomatic weapons.

"We don't even have semiautomatic weapons," he said.

One officer carried a shotgun, Resendez said, and the family was kept in one place to control the area, as is standard for any search warrant.

"Nobody was held at gunpoint," Resendez said. "That's definitely something that didn't happen."

Why did the "raid" take place?
Assistant County Prosecutor Scott Serazin said any business that sells perishable foods must be licensed and follow regulations covering those who store and supply food. There is no exception in the law for a co-op, Serazin said, and Manna cannot ask customers to waive safety regulations.

So what we have is the same public who are currently screaming at the banks and financial institutions for running their companies into the ground and at the government for not regulating the industry or providing proper oversight or protection of consumers now screaming at the government for trying to regulate an industry and trying to provide oversight and protect consumers. Only this time it's consumers who want the government to keep out of their affairs and allow them to buy unregulated foods.

Right. These are people who want the government to protect us fro tainted milk coming from China, but not to even investigate any foods grown here locally. The government can't be trusted for them, so it can' be trusted for us, although it should do their jobs properly for them. Or as a Rush Limbaugh tribute site says:
The freedom to purchase food directly form [sic] the source is increasingly under attack. For those who have food allergies and chemical intolerances, or who are on special medical diets, this is becoming a serious health issue. Will Americans retain the right to purchase food that is uncontaminated by pesticides, herbicides, allergens, additives, dyes, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, radiation, etc.?

The irony is killing me. It may eventually kill all of us if we don't get our heads clear and realize that we can't be against regulation and for it at the same time, and that the interests of companies are all alike, whether they are tiny co-ops or multinational corporations.

If there was ever a time in the history of the U.S. where government regulation has been shown to be badly needed, but butchered and diminished by anti-government zealots working within government to benefit corporations, this is the moment. I want more food regulation, and not less. I want the government to check foods coming into the country from abroad and I want the government to check the foods coming from local growers who want the power to do whatever the hell they feel like doing with our food, according to whatever idiot notions of food and nutrition may have leaked into their minds. I want it both ways.

I want to know what's in food and have it labeled properly so I can make my own decisions. Are you a raw milk freak who think you can magically keep your cows healthy when no one in history has managed to do so? I want to know that. Does this mean you may need to get a license? Pass an exam? Allow inspectors on your property? Fine with me. You should do all that and much more.

Before you run off and read more blogs ranting on this subject, remember this: as of today we still don't have full statements from the Stowers family and we don't have full statements from all the police who took part. We don't have full information on the supposed violations or the laws that were allegedly broken. We don't have any evidence of police vandalism and we don't know what was or wasn't taken.

Personally, I'd like to have that information before I make up my mind. But I'm not your typical blogger, apparently.

Good thing for you.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You miss the point about the article regarding the SWAT team and the local co-op in Ohio that was raided...

First the Co-op was members only, NOT open to the public organization. These are small growers who don't require regulation since they are under a certain size. Like the road side stands you see selling vegetables or eggs. I see these all the time, and frankly the stuff just tastes better than store bought.. usually because their is better materials used by the local farmer than the corporate one.
But this isn't the point of the article to begin with...

They would've gotten better results with the Ohio Ag Agent showing up with a warrant and the local a local patrolman knocking on the door and using a kind word.

You should check the bottom of that article on that Rush tribute site where there is a link to a document from the CATO Institute on the para-militarization of local police. That is a scary prospect.

Pardon me for saying... but you idiots that demand the government regulate every single little aspect of daily life and completely ignoring the police state that is being built in concert with your desires are going to get a rude awakening when you have a SWAT team busting into your home because the neighbor reported the smell of smoking dope and the noise of your girlfriend and you having sex all night long and making a lot of noise.