How is an odd little case in northern Wisconsin involving the Amish related in any way to the bailout?
The case involves the Wisconsin department of agriculture and an Amish man named Emmanuel Miller. It's over whether or not Mr. Miller must sign his land onto Premises ID, which the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) says needs to be mandatory. A Republican representative named Scott Suder has drafted legislation to make it voluntary. Brian Moon of Wisconsin Radio Network writes:
"State Representative Scott Suder's (R-Abbotsford) bill would make premises registration voluntary rather than the current mandatory policy. The lawmaker believes that was the original intent of the law signed in 2004. However Ehlenfeldt says with a voluntary policy, disease can still spread with overlooked animals.
"'If you don't know all of it you still have a huge job to do to identify that population,' says Ehlenfeldt."
Mr. Paul Griepentrog, a Wisconsin farmer who filed an amicus brief on behalf of Mr. Miller in court, says "Funny how Dr. Ihlenfeldt forgot to mention that he told us the program would be voluntary from the beginning."
The law in Wisconsin relating to Premises ID specifically allows for religious exemptions but the state provided none of the material and is now suing Mr. Miller, whose religion strictly forbids such participation.
What is Premises ID? It is part of NAIS (National Animal Identification System - though Wisconsin officials intermittently deny this), a global surveillance system for every single species of animal in the country using a GPS tracking tag inserted into the animal, and much more, as Jim Hightower writes:
“This is Animal Farm meets the Marx Brothers!
“It would be one thing if this were meant for the massive factory farms run by agribusiness conglomerates, which account for the vast number of disease outbreaks. After all, they have corporate staffs, computer networks, and existing systems of inventory tracking. But no -- rather than focus on the big boys that cause the big harm, NAIS targets hundreds of thousands of small farms, homesteaders, organic producers, hobbyists ... and maybe even you.
“Me, you shriek?! Yes. If you keep a pony for your kids or board a couple of riding horses, if you've got a few chickens in your backyard, if you've got a potbellied pig or a pet goose, if your youngsters are raising a half-dozen ducks as part of a 4-H club project, if you maintain a buffalo or a goat just for the fun of it -- indeed, if you have any farm animals, NAIS wants you in its computerized grasp.
(Also see what a 16-year-old who raises Nigerian dwarf goats discovered in her research.)
Premises ID is promoted as necessary for tracing farm animals back to the farmer's land. However, farmers have addresses already and are also easy to locate through fire and police departments. And our current means of dealing with animal diseases has been so effective, it is one of the best in the world - without such a system.
And even if you got rid of your animal, your property remains listed. If you sell your property to someone without animals, your property remains listed.
"Listed" is a euphemism for how fully your land is identified. Global tracking coordinates are plotted. Those and your name and personal information are fed into a corporate data bank, which is being held outside the country, in Canada, where the Freedom of Information Act can't access it.
And if not so serious (or even lax), then why are they so intent on Premises ID that they have been harassing farmers, lying to them, coercing them, forcing them on against their will by using vets to put them if they show up with a sick animal, paying 4-H kids to sign up their parents and neighbors, and even putting people on without their knowing?
Farmers are very concerned about Premises ID because of the word "premises" itself, which is an international legal term. It appears that signing onto "Premises" ID would change them from owners of their land to stakeholders in their land. They have repeatedly written to the USDA for reassurance their land is not being taken from them. The USDA has not responded.
From Doreen Hannes, farmer, state of Missouri:
"As evidence of the neglect of this agency to answer as to the effects of this program upon unalienable rights, please reference these questions that went unanswered by the previous and current Secretary of the USDA as well as the other enumerated questions in my previous comment entry on this proposed rule."
1. What is the specific authority that grants USDA the power to register personal real estate as a premises without prior consent, power of attorney in fact, or by persons lacking legal age or capacity?
2. Does registration of real property as a premises become a permanent assignment to the affected property?
3. Does registration of real property as a premises constitute a burden or encumbrance on the affected property?
4. Does registration of real property as a premises alter, impair, diminish, divest, or destroy allodial title of land patentees, or heirs or assigns?
5. Does registration of real property as a premises constitute a taking as defined in the5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
6. Will those affected by premises registration of real property be compensated for any taking, in what amount, by what standard of elevation, and frequency?
7. Does an agency memorandum, on premises registration of real property, stand as an act of law?
8. Where, by an Act of Congress as legislated within the bounds of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, has USDA been given authority to register real property as a premises or otherwise implement the National Animal Identification System?
9. Where in the U.S. Constitution is USDA given authority to register real property as a premises or otherwise implement the National Animal Identification System?
10. Will future land title and use of private real estate be impacted by implementation of the National Animal Identification System, resulting in further Federal regulation or authority?
And, many ask, with farmers reduced to mere "stake holders" in their land, for whom are they holding the stake?
Premises ID is buried within the NAIS portion of those many, many, many "food safety" bills being pushed through Congress. Since the USDA has had to be sued by farmers to try to get it to protect them from animal diseases and by its own inspectors to be allowed to inspect, on what basis do we believe that Premises ID is about protecting the country from animal diseases?
Beset with unanswered questions about this new legislative scheme, farming communities fear that an animal-related disease could be used to force those bills through Congress.
The trillion dollar bailout question
Meanwhile, as the bailout continues and billions and trillions of debt piles up, farmers and ranchers, practical people, wonder what collateral has been offered? As they look out over their animals grazing peacefully on grass in the fields, they think how little in this country has any value now, and the words of their grandparents come back to them, "the only thing of real value is land."
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