Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sucker Punch

Sometimes I get so angry, I think I might go blind with rage. Some days, I can't help but break down in tears. Other times, I'm sure I'm going to breathe fire at any moment... Today, I've already experienced all that, and I've had enough. I am putting on my protest.

Early this morning, members of the government raided the primary source of my healthy foods and health community here in Los Angeles, the Rawesome food club in Venice. From what I've gathered from various news sources and folks who were there at the time, today's raid was similar to last year's in its SWAT-team type approach. Perhaps remembering all the publicity generated by surveillance video of that event one year ago, this morning's multi-agency raid team apparently wasted no time in turning off the club's security cameras. They then arrested my friend, Rawesome founder James Stewart and set his bail at an astronomical $123,000 with reportedly no possibility for use of bail bonds. (This amount is greater, by the way, than the 2011 LA County presumptive bail for human trafficking, rape, DUI, manslaughter, assault with a firearm upon a peace officer or firefighter, or threatening the life of a judge.) ONLINE DONATIONS to help support Raw food rights and cover Rawesome's legal defense costs ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED by the way!

where produce once was
Meanwhile, in Ventura Country, a separate group of agents raided Healthy Family Farms, a Rawesome supplier, and arrested owner Sharon Palmer at a recommended bail of $120,000. Her associate and L.A. County liaison for the Weston A. Price Foundation, Victoria Bloch, was reportedly also arrested at a recommended bail of $60,000.

Though it is legal to sell raw milk in Calfornia, the charges against the three appear to include a conspiracy, related to what authorities insist is a lack of proper licensing and labeling - charges which seem clearly irrelevant in the case of a private buying club such as Rawesome, whose members all sign liability waivers acknowledging they understand the so-called risks involved in consuming products not 'approved' by the FDA. (For my part, I'm more suspicious of products the FDA approves. Just look at our rates of obesity, disease, and how little real nutrition is contained in most processed foods and fast-food meals... Please, can we stop pretending that "government knows best" and get back to making our own informed decisions?)

In any case, it seems the raid team involved here didn't even follow their own rules. Reports indicate the search warrant issued against Rawesome ultimately led to the confiscation of the club's on-hand cash, as well as the destruction or confiscation of [close to] its entire inventory. And now Rawesome regulars, like me, are asking why the entire inventory was destroyed if officials were in fact authorized to take only samples of product. The search warrant reportedly states that "various samples of any food products present may be taken for laboratory analysis." Did they mistake the drain for a Petri dish? And why, especially, were tens of thousands of dollars in organic fruits and vegetables hauled away in the back of a huge truck if their supposed concern was with the dairy? The answer, for me anyway, seems clear: The raid has the look and feel of outright persecution against those who choose a wholesome, nutrient dense Raw foods lifestyle.

where dairy once was
The items in question may as well have been stolen from my home. The Rawesome products taken or destroyed today represent the bulk contents of my own fridge, freezer, pantry... and yes, pharmacy. As a diabetic working to heal from my condition, Raw food is my medicine, and today I was robbed of it. The loss is that important and that personal. I felt it when I entered the walk-in at Rawesome this afternoon, ready to spend my dollars supporting local farmers, hoping anything would be left, only to find disturbingly barren shelves. I nearly broke down right there on the frosty floor.

where meats, cheese and dairy were
My 'market day Wednesday' was shot. I could not purchase my food for the week. Tonight at home, my shelves are mostly empty where they would normally be packed to the brim with healthful, nutritious raw milk, yogurt, eggs, nuts, fruits, veggies and much more. I feel as though I've literally been punched in the gut. This is my food we're talking about. Have no delusions. What the government has done today has directly impacted my health, my rights to choose what foods I consume, and my ability to heal and live my most vibrant life. What's worse is that their actions today directly or indirectly affect ALL our rights. Farmageddon is upon us.

Whether in malice or ignorance or some more unsettling combination of the two, I believe our government has today made a monstrous and unethical and demonstrably illegal mistake. Whatever the charges - and please remember the government's alleging of a crime, doesn't inherently mean a crime was committed - I believe the more probable cause of today's events is rooted in the criminally unregulated revolving door of the USDA, the FDA, the CDC, and giant, profiteering food & pharmaceutical corporations.

You may remember my earlier post from about a month ago, called "Farmageddon" in which I addressed this very concern. What I'd like to know is how a government that claims to be of, by and for the people justifies the continued harrassment of small farmers and health food store owners, even as it allows the likes of McDonald's and Monsanto seemingly free reign to cause us harm. Do these reckless food giants not pose a greater threat to our health than my friends? The folks spending the night in jail tonight have risked much in this hostile climate, so that folks like me (and others I've met who have demonstrated the significant health improvements possible with a Raw foods lifestyle), can continue our journey of healing and sharing with as much ease and guidance as possible.

I owe these three individuals more thanks than I will ever be able to communicate, and I implore our government to stop targeting them, our rights and my community. Oklahoma was my home when the federal building was bombed back in 1995; so the idea of "domestic terrorism" is certainly a loaded one for me. Please trust then, that it is with great sensitivity to that memory and the images that still linger in my mind, that I confess, today, I really do feel terrorized by my own government.

On hearing news of the raid this morning, a friend of mine asked, "So what are you going to do about food?" My honest answer to her - and remember this is coming from a diabetic - was simply, "I don't know."

I do know that, because of all this, for now at least, I cannot eat the way I choose. I know my optimal health is currently being thwarted by my government. I know, with these things in mind, I probably will not sleep well tonight... But I know I will pay a visit to the steps of the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse tomorrow to support my friends, my community, and most importantly, our inalienable rights.

I also know I won't be quiet about it until we get back those rights!

(Protest coverage by KTLA)

AUGUST 6TH UPDATE: Mike Adams of Natural News  interviews Rawesome member Lela Buttery on the front lines. CLICK HERE TO READ AND LISTEN.

(2010 YouTube video):

1 comment:

  1. Another proof that the Dogs (SWAT teams, cops, etc) serve the Pigs (powers that be, big corporations selling plastic food and not liking competition)
    So sorry to hear about this intrusion with people rights to choose their own food.
    My best,