Thank You Sen. John Tester for your Amendment to S-510 — 35 Comments

  1. “government is best which governs the least.”

    The bill S-510 is unconstitutional and grows government.

    Thanks for raising awareness on this bill.

  2. I heard about this bill earlier this week and urged my 2 PA senators to vote no. I will amend that to say that if it has to pass, keep in the amendment that allows us little guys to keep seeds, etc.

  3. @Anti-Federalist,

    Of course I am totally opposed to the whole damn thing. The Tester amendment is like a diversion that lets you evac your troops when the battle is lost.

    We have a lame duck heavy liberal congress right now. They are going to pass it and we can’t stop it at this point. Now with the Tester Amendment we loose but only concerns over 500K are effected.

    So my view is we can

    1. Keep beating this dead horse knowing we are going to loose anyway.


    2. We can zero in on the other crap we need to stop like the Union Card Check, Cap and Tax, Expiring Tax Cuts, etc.

  4. I have contacted my rep and senator before on this bill and since they were both unfortunately re-elected, they will continue to support it. Our rep’s district is FULL of small farms and CSAs and he somehow doesn’t get it (probably didn’t read it) or is bought and paid for – or both. Don’t look to WA for any leadership.

  5. @Stein so call back and say you still don’t want the bill but will be a lot less upset if the Tester amendment is included. Many if not most of those small farms are exempted by it.

    Again so no one gets the wrong idea, I still don’t want the bill I just feel we can’t stop it in a lame duck session. So the exemption is the best we can do.

  6. Compromise is not an option here. Why are we applauding those who are willing to sacrifice fewer of our liberties than others would? If you were mugged on the street, and the mugger took your wallet, but then reluctantly let you keep your watch, would you consider him less of a thief, shake his hand and say “Thank you”?

  7. @Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    Really? So what do you say we do? Take up arms? Hold our breath?

    In any battle there is a time to cut losses and fight another day. Perhaps with a new administration coming soon we can start to repeal some things.

    The reality here is we DO NOT have the votes to stop this, we lost the battle the Tester amendment is triage.

    I am as libertarian as the next man but people like you drive me nuts. “Compromise is not an option here”.

    The compromise was made by the American people in 06 and 08. Not that the Republicans are much better but if you look it is 90% republicans that oppose this one. If not an amendment then what my friend, what exactly should people do at this point? Tell me I am listening?

  8. First, let me apologize, the tone of my statement upon re-reading was a bit too strong, your opposition to this bill is evident. But that said, I stand by the core principal I was trying to convey: The man who offers compromise at the expense of our liberties is not worthy of our praise by doing so.

    You are correct, the only method of recourse we can follow now is an amendment, as a strict vote of “no” will most likely lose. My issue is that the proposed amendment doesn’t go far enough, and no adequate amendment will be offered if the public outrage over the bill is diminished by this.
    As it stands, the language of the bill and the Tester amendment is left fairly open-ended. While that may provide some protections for us now, it’s a foot in the door for the inevitable interpretation of the judicial branch when another outbreak of food born illness does happen. This bill in it’s current form (even with the Tester Amendment) is too malleable. In the remote crisis of contaminated beef or potatoes, or whatever, when public outrage is at it’s highest, the freedoms the amendment is set to protect can be stripped away by interpretation alone, with no additional input by the legislature, or by extension, the citizenry they allegedly represent.

    Granted, that is true for practically every bill that reaches the senate (by design of course). One may even argue that’s how our nation has been led so far down the path to socialism. I maintain the belief that we need to stand up and demand true representation in the legislature. We need to tell them what we desire from them, not what we are willing to accept. I don’t want to commit myself to a policy I fundamentally reject, on the grounds that one Senator was willing to cross the aisle and throw me a bone.

    You could argue that my unwillingness to compromise makes me less effective in debating the topic, or negotiate a reasonable outcome. I agree, I am less effective in that regard. I’m even willing to accept my share of the blame for the deteriorating state of this nation. After all, I hold method and principal over results, (which anyone who’s ever voted for a Libertarian is guilty of, given their almost assured defeat in the polls), and that has led the more oppressive forces in government to situations where they have gained ground.

    What I do is counterproductive. I don’t expect you to be able to reconcile the logical fallacy in my “principals over results” ideology, I can’t even do that (Hence my aptly chosen forum name). Even still, I don’t have it in me to roll over on this one, even if doing so is better for me.

    You assert that this is a battle, and sometimes we have to retreat, regroup, try to mitigate the damage and prepare for the next assault. That is true. But sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, even when defeat is inevitable you forge ahead and keep fighting, let your enemies see what you stand for. The loss of the vote is not the end of us, better to rally now and declare that they will go no further. I’m probably as bad a military tactician as I am a political tactician, but I believe I’m correct in this instance. I respect your position and know your motives are genuine, but I disagree with the approach you’ve taken to this matter. In any event, I intended no disrespect with my prior comment.

  9. Tester is one of those Al Gore New World Order minions who tout carbon taxes. He’s also tied heavy into Agenda 21 UN local. There is also a branch of the Federal Reserve in Helena, and it’s under heavy lock down with a guard tower. Montana has a large mega rich globalist population who buy up all the good land. The grass is greener in Idaho.

  10. @Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    Just because we loose a battle doesn’t mean we stop resisting but the reality is there is only so much we can do now.

    The reality is this pig of a bill will pass, we can’t stop it. I am just glad the little guys are protected now. Tester is not great guy for sure but hell at least he did this and the reality is NO ONE ELSE IN THE SENATE DID.

    I wish one of my senators both who oppose this bill would have done it. I would be happy to see them get the amendment done and still vote no. But I am a realist and I will take what I can get.

    So yes thank you to John Tester for the amendment. It is a common sense measure that makes a bad bill a whole lot less bad. Honestly with this amendment no one is really effected except for big agriculture and those boys ain’t exactly my friends.

    Will they try to take more control later? Of course and I hope we are better able to fight them at that point.

    Like I said I think we are better suited to accept this loss now and fight for the tax cuts, against cap and tax, etc. If we can win those we can look forward to dead lock for awhile and as a libertarian deadlock suits me just fine.

  11. In fact I consider the Tester amendment to mean we actually won this battle. My concern was always for the small producer, this bill now doesn’t effect them at all.

    Again realize 80-90% of the power in this bill already exists.

  12. Oh and one more thing @Insane_Libertarian_Wacko despite all you stated you still didn’t say what to do?

    You say you can’t “roll over” fine so how are you fighting this? By saying you are against it? I am doing that too so what is the difference?

    What are you going to do is what I want to know? Call your senators every day? Both of mine voted against this so what should I do? Many of those voting for it are already fired in Jan. so good luck changing their mind.

    I mean not to beat a dead horse but what are you saying for people to do? Be angry, be mad, continue the false hype about this bill? Mumble under their breath?

    I mean where do you and I actually disagree here? Considering the bill will pass and it will we both know that, would you prefer that it pass with out the Tester amendment? Would you prefer that small growers be crushed by it? Don’t give me that you would prefer that it not pass at all, it isn’t an option, we both know that.

    So instead of telling me how you won’t roll over tell me what that means. Honestly I can give you 20 reasons I oppose this bill, most of those reasons apply to most of the laws on the books though.

    Honestly I think many people have listened to Alex Jones for too long on this issue.

  13. “…and as a libertarian deadlock suits me just fine.”

    Well, I can definitely agree on that point.

    You are correct, given the state of the senate, the bill will pass. But I would view this like any other negotiation, as that’s essentially what it will come down to, a negotiation. If this proposal is rejected by the people, they may counter with a more reasonable amendment. Then again they may not. I think, given the pounding the democrat majority took earlier this month, they may be a bit more flexible than they have in the past in pursuit of higher public approval. Of course, this position of mine is founded on the pretense of senators actually caring about the approval of the public. Recent history has shown that to not always be the case. The passage of the bill may take precedence over their approval ratings (as it was with the healthcare bill, bank takeover, auto bailout etc.)

    I’m not questioning your rationalization of this measure, but I’m still offended that we need to find such justifications. Perhaps my stubbornness comes from frustration. I see one ludicrous bill after another, in which are included a dozen small attacks on our freedom. We fight them, but always end up compromising, accepting two or three otherwise unacceptable offenses, and then we count it as a victory. Our freedoms are eroding one concession at a time. At least lets start calling our defeats what they are, and stop rewarding those who make these concessions at our expense.

    My problem extends to a much larger view of government. Once again, a senator swoops in at the last minute with an amendment to buy us off. A thimble full of honey to counter the bitter taste of the poison, but we’re still drinking the poison. That will always be the case until we take a stand and say no. I see this amendment as a typical and disgusting tactic. Tester is the embodiment of what’s wrong in politics. He’s handling us in the most condescending way. Should we take the deal? Probably. But I wouldn’t take it eagerly, and I certainly won’t thank him for it.

    Perhaps he is genuine and looking to weaken this bill. If he is, I’ll gladly retract my statements. But we’ve all seen this game before, I can’t help but harbor some skepticism.

  14. As for my plans on what to do: Yes, I have written my senators (though I’m in NY, so I’m sure the emails are just filling their spam folder, and calling is almost impossible). But I do use every method at my disposal, within the constraints of the law. I’ve spoken about this bill to others and encourage them to contact our senators.

    You’re doing everything I would do, no disagreement there. I’m not criticizing what you’re doing, nor can I offer a better recourse. I just draw the line at thanking Tester. As I said, his proposal feels like a condescending attempt to silence the opposition. I could be wrong there, but experience has taught me to trust my instinct, and examine the motives of anyone in government who compromises a bill backed by their own party.

  15. @Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    That is all good and well and don’t think I am being a dick because I am not. You still haven’t said what anyone is supposed to do about this.

    No way I would reject the amendment! Push for something more sure, but what?

    Have you actually read this bill? There is some additional spending in it but honestly it ain’t bad for a turd crapped out by senators in Washington.

    What specifically do you oppose in the bill?

    Don’t say a larger government with more spending because that is ALWAYS the case. Be specific. Again have you actually read this bill?

  16. @Insane_Libertarian_Wacko

    When I posted my last response I didn’t see you had made two posts. So ignore my continued request as per what to do. Sorry about that.

  17. This is my first post but have found it necessary as you are thanking one of the most anti-gun politicians in the Senate. Senator John Tester, has an “F” rating from GOA.

    Tester is the poster boy for voting pro-gun on one item and then stabbing pro-gunners in the back and voting anti-gun on the next.

    Some examples:

    Tester voted to confirm anti-gun leftists Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court for many years to come.

    Tester voted not once, but twice, for the so-called “Disclose Act,” which was a blatant attempt by sitting members of Congress to stop groups like Gun Owners of America from giving the voting records of elected officials around election time. This legislation was so blatantly political that it even gave ‘exemptions’ to some groups to campaign while trying to stop others from doing anything!

    Tester voted to confirm radical anti-gun U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who, as you will recall, was one of the key figures in the Clinton White House in pushing the ban on semi-automatic firearms. Today, Holder advocates the reinstatement of the Clinton gun ban.

    Senator Tester voted for Obama-appointed “regulatory Czar” Cass Sunstein, who believes hunting is outdated and should be stopped and that animals should have legal representation against humans in court.

    Just thought this was important information for your listeners too. Thanks for all you do!

  18. Ah, I misunderstood your question. I thought you were asking exactly what I was doing personally about this. It seems you are asking what would I change in the bill or amendment. By the way, I don’t think you’re being a dick, far from it. You’ve made some good points, and have actually taken the time to respond. I can appreciate your position, even if we are in disagreement on some points.

    I have read the bill in it’s entirety several times, but more to the point, there are some things in the proposed amendment which I feel fall short:

    The exemption Provision from the summary (citing the full text here would be a bit awkward):

    (1) they are either a “very small business” as defined by FDA in rulemaking; or (2) the
    average annual monetary value of all food sold by the facility during the previous 3 year
    period was less than $500,000, but only so long as the majority of the food sold by that
    facility was sold directly to consumers, restaurants, or grocery stores (as opposed to 3
    party food brokers) and were in the same state where the facility sold the food or within
    275 miles of the facility”

    Many states have laws that essentially force sales to go through 3rd parties, which are not exempted here. Force may be too strong a word, but they are often financially penalized for bringing any significant volume of goods directly to market, bypassing distributors and processors. While I understand this is a moot point for crop shares and farm markets who typically don’t work in those volumes, there are many mid-sized growers who would be hurt by this. There is a direct conflict with many state laws, and that is in no way addressed.

    I would prefer an exemption not tied to distribution method, as that varies from farm to farm, crop to crop, market to market, and state to state. I’ll throw out a hypothetical, just to illustrate my point. In the southwest, there are many small farms growing Blue Agave for Tequila production. It is a food product, not exempted from the bill, but remains absolutely dependent on large 3rd party processors. Unprocessed, the agave cores have essentially no market value, and the only way they can be processed for market at a remotely competitive price is by large processors using the economy of scale to lower costs.

    “Study: FDA would have to conduct a study of the food processing sector to help inform
    the definition of what it means to be a “very small” facility for purposes of the exemption

    That’s a pretty indeterminate statement. It essentially empowers the FDA to amend the qualification for exemption on a whim, based on internal, rather than 3rd party research.

    If the profit cap was raised to $1 million, and reviews of eligibility limited to once every 5-10 years per company, and the research that adjusts the reasonable scale was conducted by a 3rd party with no financial incentive, I’d be okay with that.

    The whole section about requiring “other evidence of oversight as specified by the Secretary” needs to be removed.

    As the amendment is written, there are lots of discretionary exemptions to the exemptions, which negates the purpose of the entire document.

    As for my issues with the bill it’s self, I’m not a conspiracy nut, I don’t think they going to shut down my seed sources and come in a burn my garden and fine me, or any of that nonsense. My concerns go to the level of authority a federal institution is given over the state. It gives the FDA discretion to place it’s own employees in about a dozen other agencies, both state and federal. I know it boils down to the “more money” argument, but also another layer of bureaucracy on an already over burdened system. The structure and distribution of power under the Secretary is seemingly designed to be counterintuitive and expensive.

    The one part of the bill I actually agree with, (Title III) concerning the importation of food basically gets exemptions under Title IV for nations like China, India, Mexico and half of Africa, who all have fixed treaties with us so they can export their food products to the US. The worst offenders in food safety simply aren’t addressed, while in the bill’s current form, most of our small food producers, many of whom now exceed the requirements will be forced to meet an additional burden.

    Lets face facts, Food products are one of our chief imports and exports in this country. Increasing the cost of domestic production and distribution, while offering back-end exemptions to other select nations we are in competition with doesn’t do us much good economically.

    How do we support our farmers by taxing, regulating and fining them, exposing them to additional oversight and legal discovery. That will only drive their margins down as they absorb additional costs. Meanwhile, they must compete with places like China who have knowingly shipped contaminated food to us to satisfy their end of a trade agreement with products they couldn’t give their own people. They are exempted by those same treaties that currently incentivises them to ship poisoned food in the first place.

    I just don’t see how this will accomplish what it’s intended to do. Striking the merits of the bill, we are really just left with increased cost and liability for everyone from the farmer to the consumer, while our producers are subjected to undue scrutiny and penalty.

  19. @Howard,

    You have made no point.

    First I am one of the most pro gun and pro second amendment people on the planet, I am not endorsing this guy, I am thanking him for a single action.

    Second while I trust NO politicians as far as I can throw them, Tester is not near as anti gun as you claim. He has actually worked WITH THE NRA on several bills.

    Third, S – 510 has absolutely nothing to do with guns.

  20. @Howard, let me please apologize for saying, “You have made no point.” that was wrong. You made a valid point, just been a long day. I do stand by my rebuttal but I didn’t mean to come off like an ass. Sorry brother,


  21. $500,000 3-year average is a very low threshold for a very capital-intensive, highly speculative industry like the small and mid-sized food producers.

    This is a horrible idea. More regulation and remember: The Financial Services Modernization Act repealed Glass-Steagal. Our government is at best, incompetent. At worst, criminal. This will drive so many independent, smaller food producers out of biz. This will become a MASSIVE land grab. Just like the smaller banks being closed by the completely bankrupt FDIC.

  22. @Political Atheist

    Of course it is a horrible idea! But is it not a WORSE idea with out any amendment at all?

  23. Jack,
    Your analysis of this turd of a bill and your support of the Testor amendment are a great example of remaining true to principles while still working with the existing crappy hand we have been dealt. I called Testor’s office too with thanks.

    I am one of those who would have been economically harmed by the unamended SB 510. My choices would have been ignore the law and look over my shoulder, quit selling anything that did not go through the stockyards, or sell out and quit period. At least this buys us time.

  24. With or without the Testor amendment the bill will accomplish the same goal in the long run as the framework will be in place for tweaking down the road by appointed administrators of Monsanto. What is the goal of this legislation? Take a peek into the future by taking a look at the past, you’ll love this: “The invasion of Iraq is unique because it has led to an order to terminate the life from seed, taking away farmers’ freedom to grow what they want to grow.”

  25. @Mark Minwords,

    I am aware of order 81 it is an atrocity. However, this has nothing to do with that at all. The methods by which Monsanto and MANY OTHERS who are just as bad enforce seed patents already exist.

    They suck, should be repealed, etc. but they are not part of S.510.

    I can’t believe the things assigned to this bill that are NOT IN THIS BILL but so many. There is so much here to oppose and yet the opposition keeps inventing phantoms instead of fighting the real issues.

    Once again we are being played for fools by allowing mouth pieces full of hype to create things that are not there all while the establishment is mostly getting its way.

  26. I hope on the brighter side of small food production legislation is Wisconsin’s “Pickle Bill” allowing people to sell home made food products in Wisconsin without kitchen inspections and other government red tape.

  27. Modern: Are you more opposed to the perspective of the opposition or to the bill itself? You sound more disgusted with those who would be your allies. What hype? This was supposed to be a bill that was so outrageous that was considered dead in the water and no it is here, it will be law. It will be tweaked to become America’s version of Iraqi order 81. Mark my words!

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  29. @Mark I am actually equally disgusted with the hypesters that have been saying crap like…

    1. After this bill passes you won’t be able to trade tomatoes for peppers with your neighbors

    2. This bill will make it illegal to save seeds

    3. This bill is America’s version of Order 81 (Because that already exists, Order 81 took the authoritarian patents that Monsanto already uses and has used in America for decade to Iraq. In other words everything Order 81 took to Iraq already existed in the U.S.)

    Yes, I am very disgusted with all the nonsense assigned to this bill that doesn’t exist. I am disgusted with nonsense from people like, “well it doesn’t say that now but it will change over time”. That is like saying, I know it is a mouse now but it could morph into T-Rex and eat our children. I am totally disgusted with over a year of hype around this thing by people like Alex Jones and other fringe groups that are selling you fear.

    Such people are not allies, they have done far more damage to this effort then help. There is as I said so much to oppose in this bill, so many places where we could be fighting for additional amendments but instead people that oppose this make themselves look like fools via the spouting of nonsense.

    No one is asking why we are hiring so many new people at a time when the nation is broke to fight “food smuggling” a problem which largely doesn’t exist.

    No instead people like you are going, “This is going to be America’s Order 81” and people who don’t learn what 81 was go oh that sounds scary.

    Again folks if you actually read Order 81 instead of the hype around it, it brought patent protection of seeds to Iraq for seeds that by its own definition are, “they must be ‘new, distinct, uniform and stable”.

    As anyone who listens knows Monsanto is NOT my friend, I despise them even more then most politicians. Yet the hype around Order 81 is almost as bad as the hype around S.510 has been. Sure it is deplorable and totalitarian but saying it brought the same type of system we already have in America to Iraq doesn’t make an audience fear the New World Order and buy what you are selling.

    So I am marking your words, I am marking them as a person who I believe knows very little about S.510 and may be even less about Order 81, someone who has read neither. I am marking them as the words of a person who is taking hyperbole from various sources as fact instead of verifying them for himself.

    This hype is how we got this bill in its current form. Many who could have been made allies heard the hype, read the actual bill and wrote off our resistance as nothing but a bunch of wacko nonsense.

    The fact that you can even ask “what hype” speaks volumes.

    So outlawing home gardens wasn’t hype?

    Making it illegal for you to trade seeds with a neighbor wasn’t hype?

    Forcing American onto the Codex wasn’t hype?

    Making organic fruits and vegetables illegal wasn’t hype?

    If you answer even one of those questions with a no, I am wasting my time here.

    Last I did say this bill would never pass as written. It won’t the Tester Amendment is proof of that. Tracking food grown on 40,000 acres in Mexico is not a bad thing by the way. I would love the small farm exemption to be larger, I would love to get further amendments. I would love it if reasonable objections were heard by the American people and more of them even knew about this.

    The reality is that every wacko idiot that managed to get on talk radio with a call in and stated crap like, “this new law will outlaw home gardens”, is exactly why most Americans have never even heard of S.510.

  30. @A Wiggins

    While I fully support your state standing up with state sovereignty with such a bill, it is not necessary in regard to S.510.

    The original bill never touched such activity but if you read it broadly enough could “have been construed to do so”, because of the definition of a “farm” being so broad.

    Now here with the Tester amendment your pickles clearly won’t add up to 500K a year. I would love to see many states start passing some protections against Federal intrusion for anything in-state commerce wise. At the very least our Sheriffs need to stand off any Federal intrusion into anything that is commerce with in our state, the feds have zero business in that regardless if we are talking about pickles or auto parts.

  31. “I am disgusted with nonsense from people like, “well it doesn’t say that now but it will change over time”. That is like saying, I know it is a mouse now but it could morph into T-Rex and eat our children.”

    This is ludicrous! How do you think Social Security started out? The income tax? Go ahead, name me one government program that has shrunk over time! It is the nature of any legislation to grow a beast, to think otherwise is so naive it borders on being dangerous.

    To thank Nestor for his amendment is like thanking the Nazi’s for excluding children from the gas chambers, had they done that. Now he thinks it is a good idea to vote for this bill. Were you paying attention to the health care legislation process? How certain Dems okayed it when such-and-such an amendment was included to get their vote, and surprise, surprise it wasn’t in the final program? This is what it is.

    You back off on the caffeine and I’ll do the same with the kool-aid, no need to fire off assumed profiles of one anothers’ intellectual integrity or competence. Stick to the subject.

  32. Interesting reads:

    Tester’s amendment puts lipstick on a pig:

    Also, Monsanto says the time is right for gmo wheat:

    Stock up, learn to grow our own and network with those that already do. For those of you who think eating/buying organic is important, check out the Organic Consumers Association, They have lots of info on SB510 and are putting up a good fight.

    Thanks for TSP and forum. Only been a member for about 6 months and find the forum posts invaluable.

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