Saturday, April 22, 2006

What next?

I'm sure you've all read this before, but every once in a while, something happens that makes it even more pertinent.

"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." _ _ _ Pastor Martin Niemoeller, 1946.

The United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with numerous other agencies, is pushing for the implementation of a National Animal Identification System. Even if it's scope is significantly reduced before it is adopted, it will be one of the most intrusive programs the bureaucrats of the United States government has ever enacted.

Even though this program won't directly affect a lot of us, it's repulsive enough that we should all speak up. Here is some information and links:

Contact: Karin Bergener, 330-298-0065 -

Liberty Ark Coalition Forms to Fight Animal ID

FREEDOM, OHIO - A broad-based coalition has been formed to oppose the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) as it is presently proposed. "We're calling the project The Liberty Ark Coalition," says Karin Bergener, an Ohio attorney who helped form the coalition. "We hope the Liberty Ark will save our animals, and our farms from unnecessary government intrusion."

The USDA sponsored program would require every premises which houses even a single chicken, duck, turkey, cow, pig, goat, horse, or any other animal considered to be livestock, to be registered in a government database, and assigned a seven-digit number and GPS coordinates - by 2007. The premises owner would be required to pay a fee for the privilege.

The next phase would require every animal to be tagged with a radio frequency identification device (RFID) by 2008, also paid for by the owner. Finally, by 2009, the movement of any animal from the registered premises would have to be reported within 24 hours. The program would be enforced with fines for non-compliance, which could reach $1000 per day.

"The program is designed to track the source of a sick animal," says Meritt Lamb, a Tennessee magazine editor who also helped form the coalition. "But it will do nothing to prevent diseased animals from entering the food supply chain, nor will it address the problem of identifying imported meat products that enter the food supply chain." Lamb is typical of thousands of small land owners who keep a few chickens, an occasional steer or pig or goat for their own use, who will be severely impacted by the USDA program.

"This program will devastate county fairs, and 4H and Future Farmers of America projects, through which children learn how to care for, and show, their animals," says Randy Givens, a retired army colonel and coalition founder who resides in Texas. "It will kill the rodeo circuit. These programs have been successful for generations; the NAIS will wipe them out because it is simply not worth the effort, or cost, to register, tag, and report every animal that moves to a show or a county fair, or to a rodeo."

Judith McGeary, an environmental law attorney in Texas, and founder of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (, says "We believe the Liberty Ark Coalition will bring together thousands of small organizations and individuals who, together, will have enough influence to convince legislators to stop this program, at least long enough to interject a little sanity. But it will take everyone, working together."

The Liberty Ark Coalition website is

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Just say no.

A few years ago, a group of teenagers, (one of whom is near and dear to my heart), decided that as a Halloween prank, they would smash a mailbox. Not being criminal masterminds, they were quickly apprehended, and dealt with appropriatley.

Besides being grounded, they were required to purchase and install a new mailbox, apologize to the victim, and, for what was probably the most heinous portion of the punishment, they had to listen to one of my lectures. The gist of that speech was simply that all of their trouble could have been avoided if just one of them would have taken the lead and said "No, this is wrong." and stuck to his guns.

I believed it then, and I believe it now. That's one of the reasons I'm running for the Indiana House of Representatives. When I look at some of the bills that have been passed in recent years, I have to believe that things would have turned out differently if a few legislators would have said "no", because it was the right thing to say.

Last year with Daylight Savings Time, and this year with Major Moves, a lot of our elected officials voted party lines, despite their own misgivings and against the wishes of their constituency. A local Republican stated that 80% of the people in his district were opposed to DST, but he voted for it anyway, just please his leaders.

Imagine having a few Libertarians in the statehouse. While the Republicans and Democrats worry about keeping their party leaders happy, we could support any bill that moved towards lowering taxes and lessening government, and oppose any bill that didn't, from either side of the aisle.

Hey, we might even occasionally get the chance to say "yes".