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Wait. #AmishMafia is not real?

The f?

If a violent group of Amish “protectors” exists in Lancaster County as represented on a hit reality television series, Steven Echternach and Jonathan Heisse would know about it.

The two local cops are District Attorney Craig Stedman’s liaisons to the Amish community, working with local Anabaptist groups on crimes of all sorts.

And they’ve found zero evidence of the gun-wielding group of Lancaster-based Amish renegades portrayed on Discovery Channel’s hit show “Amish Mafia.”

“I can say with absolute certainty that what I’m seeing on Discovery Channel is an exploitation of the Amish culture,” Echternach, Strasburg’s police chief, said this week. “It’s not a complete blatant lie, but the characterization is very misrepresentative.”

January 15, 2013 at 1:15 am Comments (2)

Potential Veep pick in Lancaster Monday

Wanna see a guy who might be Vice President?

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, reportedly on the short list of Romney’s potential vice presidential possibilities will be in Lancaster on Monday, July 30th, arriving at 11:30 AM  at the Lancaster County Farm and Home Center to stump for Mitt Romney.  Also scheduled to be in attendance are US Senate candidate Tom Smith and candidate for PA Treasurer Diana Irey Vaughan.

Free to attend, those interested should see the Lancaster Republican Committee website for additional information.

July 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm Comments (0)

Occupy Lancaster disrupts Pitts Town Hall

The obnoxious thuggery of the “occupy” movement has made its way to Lancaster, disrupting a town hall meeting held by Congressman Joe Pitts:

What gives these jerks the right to disrupt the meetings of others?

The media had been covering for the “occupy” crowd for a while, but the “occupy” protesters seem intent on squandering what little (undeserved) public goodwill they have obtained.

–via LancasterRepublicans.com

November 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm Comments (4)

The Feds Are Having A Cow Over Raw Milk

 Do we ban sushi and steak tartare, too? What’s the difference?

 Sorry to disappoint, but the 2012 presidential election may prove to be anti-climatic, since it appears the federal government has solved all its problems, from illegal aliens to drug smuggling, from energy independence to protecting the environment.  They must have even found a way to eliminate the $14 trillion debt.

Why? Well, based on all the resources the feds are putting into the eradication of a mammoth problem, one that strikes fear in the heart of all citizens, it would seem that all its other troubles have been solved.   It’s an issue of such importance that pollsters surely find it at the top of every survey:

The production, sale and voluntary consumption of raw milk.

The threat is so great that armed federal officials find it necessary to routinely raid farms which produce that product. And rightly so, since the incidence of bovine malfeasance has obviously surpassed that of drug dealers, rapists, child predators, and murderers. 

*****

The latest saga involved armed federal who, after months of “investigation,” raided an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, whose owner was allegedly selling raw milk across state lines.  After assessing civil penalties, the government is now trying to shut down the farmer’s operation in federal court.

It’s another example of a government out of control, with gun-toting storm troopers swooping down on a farmer’s property.  And there’s little doubt it came about because the extremely powerful dairy lobby once again flexed its political muscle, demanding that this increasingly popular practice be squashed.  Given that there are over ten million raw milk drinkers in the U.S., why else would so much attention be given to such an innocuous business?

At issue is whether raw milk is dangerous for human consumption because of the potential presence of E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria, as opposed to the pasteurized milk that kills such germs and is common on store shelves.  Raw milk advocates, both producers and consumers, claim that milk in its raw, natural form, free of chemical treatment, helps the human body maintain an overall level of healthiness.  They state that during the pasteurization process, key proteins are destroyed that help promote digestion and improve the immune system.

Even though federal officials counter that the bacteria in raw milk can be deadly, people across the country go out of their way to obtain such milk, sometimes paying in excess of three times the price of regular milk. Not only have they lived to tell their story, but most claim they and their children are significantly healthier. In the past decade, only two deaths have been officially linked to raw milk, and even they were suspect, as the contaminated substance in question was Mexican cheese.

Given that raw milk is legal to sell in 29 states, and in the other 21, there are many legal loopholes to do so, such as labeling the milk for animal consumption, and selling “cow-shares” so that owners are entitled to a percentage of the cow’s yield as opposed to buying milk outright, such heavy handed conduct on the part of federal officials is troublesome.

Be Consistent

Here’s the rub.  If government is going to interfere in people’s lives and threaten their livelihoods, then they should be consistent.  It certainly wouldn’t make their decision right, but at least they would avoid the appearance of favoritism.  If the major issue in the consumption of raw food is the possibility of it containing “harmful” bacteria, then many more businesses should be concerned about being shut down by government agents.

Fair is fair.

So why aren’t the feds not closing all restaurants that serve sushi, or at least banning it from the menu?  Sushi, a delicacy loved by millions, is simply raw fish.  And the best sushi is categorized as being from the “highest grade” fish.

Sounds like class warfare in the pelagic community. 

The reality is that the “highest grade” fish is still served raw, and can contain both bacteria and parasites.  As an added bonus, the concentration of mercury in many of these fish is quite high because of their status as apex predators, meaning that, since they are at the top of the food chain, they often have the highest concentration of mercury.

Isn’t mercury bad for us, too? 

And what about the significant risk of contracting hepatitis from eating raw seafood?  It is a very real possibility, even when eating in a five-star restaurant.

While we’re at it, let’s ban steak tartare (made with raw beef) from all restaurants, as well as Caesar dressing concocted with raw eggs.

Come to think of it, the citrus and vegetable industries have problems too, given the occasional presence of E. coli on those products, due in part to manure laden irrigation water and fertilizer.

So let’s ban tomatoes, too. Oh wait, the FDA did exactly that several years ago after announcing a salmonella outbreak, throwing countless Americans out of work.  Only one problem.  There was absolutely no evidence that tomatoes were the offending food, and, after completely decimating an entire industry, the FDA (Federal Destruction Administration) cavalierly announced that it didn’t actually know what caused the outbreak.

If only the FDA was red-faced and apologetic after its misstep, willing to make amends, some of the animosity towards government would have been mitigated.  But it was as arrogant as ever.

The specter of bureaucrats who are 52 cards short of a deck yet hold the power to destroy Americans’ lives — with no repercussion when they are wrong — is simply un-American. And the fact that Congress and presidential administrations allow such intrusion to go unchecked simply makes the sin mortal. 

*****

Government clearly has more important priorities than trying to put raw milk producers out of business, especially when it operates in such a frightening manner.  If people want to drink raw milk for its perceived health benefits, they should be able to do so without fear, and without being forced to act like rumrunners during Prohibition.  And if government is so concerned about the safety of these individuals, it could make them sign a waiver of liability.

Of course, then we would be sifting through pages of litigious material every time we entered a restaurant, which would just thrill the bureaucrats.

Or maybe our taxpayer-funded government could actually try to hold up its part of the bargain by enforcing the laws that are designed to keep us safe and secure, but are routinely ignored. Spending no more than it takes in and sealing the border are just two that come to mind.

A wise man once wrote that Government should be “…of the people, by the people, for the people”. 

Well-funded lobbies controlling an ever-intrusive government is not what Mr. Lincoln had in mind.

           

 Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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June 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm Comments (0)

Whoopie Wars Escalate

It’s a whoopie-pie arms race.

The war over whoopie pies between Pennsylvania and Maine has been taken to another level, after enthusiasts in Maine made one Saturday that weighed more than 1,000 pounds in an attempt to help cement the treat as the official state dessert. But, the war over whoopie pies will continue.

Lovers of the sweet treat want to defend it as a prize of Pennsylvania. Jim Chudovsky, general manager of Bird-In-Hand bakery in Lancaster County, says he’s heard of recipes nearly 100 years old.” I’ve heard some reports that people have some recipes that date back to the 1920s.”

I think it’s time for Governor Corbett to send the Pa National Guard. We should take a few lobsters and flannel shirts hostage.

Mysteriously, the article includes a picture of a regular pie crust. What auslander wrote that article?

March 27, 2011 at 11:55 am Comments (0)

Fighting for Whoopie

SaveourWhoopieForm
Do your part Pennsylvania….

As you may know, the state of Maine is attempting to claim the whoopie pie as its official treat. Like you, we here in Lancaster County are shocked – shocked, I tell you – at this act of confectionary larceny, and we need your help.

Whoopie pies are a long-standing part of our Amish and Pennsylvania German culture, with origins that go far beyond any written records. Help us preserve a delicious Lancaster County culinary tradition and Save Our Whoopie by digitally signing the petition below objecting to any other state, county, or town claiming the Whoopie Pie as its own.

February 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm Comments (0)