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Too Rich for Words - Irony & United Conflict Within R-CALF PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Wednesday, 25 April 2007
AFF Sentinel Vol.4#12

Part I

No deliberate, disciplined, businesslike trade organization, the chaos at R-CALF provides myriad examples of conflict, irony, confusion and paranoia. We'll look at these examples by department. Mind you, these examples come from a group purporting to know the one true way for "reforming" the "live cattle" industry.

Information and quotes come from, the R-CALF expose site containing reams of e-mails, news releases and official documents from R- CALF officers, members and staff.

Irony Department
In the introduction explaining the need for the expose, the unknown author explains that R-CALF members' quest for answers about what was really going on within their group in early '07 was met with "half-truths, rumor, speculation, false accusations and downright lies."

Funny ... having watched them publicly make misleading charges, quote data selectively and testify before legislative bodies like true demagogues for years, such behavior has been R-CALF's normal modus operandi - politics as usual. It appears they don't like their tactics turned around on themselves.

Conflict Department
During a member conference call after the coup, over 50 R-CALF members tried to sort out what was happening to their organization. Director Dennis McDonald reported that at the Washington fly-in, former Director Herman Schumacher proclaimed that Leo McDonnell "fully supports" recent board actions (the coup). Schumacher must have thought word wouldn't get back to Leo. Leo piped up from his end of the conference call: "I do not, in any way, support the recent actions taken by the R-CALF board."

(Incredible) Irony Department
A board meeting notice e-mailed after the coup has an attachment from new President Max Thornsberry, titled "Oath of Loyalty to R- CALF USA." The very first sentence of the multi-paragraph oath requires the member to swear to the "upholding of [R-CALF's] by- laws." This from the man who ascended to power through board moves not permitted in the by-laws, and cinched it by abstaining from the 5-4 vote on Chuck Kiker.

The oath-taker must also agree to "abstain from any action that would result in the division or demise of R-CALF-USA." As if a coup by one sector of the board, resignation or forced removal of several board members - including the founder - would not possibly contribute to such a division.

Then, to allay fears that members who followed the by-laws and didn't try to destroy the organization would be "selling out," the oath contains some clarifying language.

Remember, R-CALF is made up of bunchquitters from other organizations in which discussion and argument is encouraged, but a majority vote sets policy. The bunchquitters got tired of being in the minority and started their own organization, muttering about not surrendering to the majority or demonizing the majority as beholden to some evil enemy, like the packers.

The psychology here reminds one of youth sports where the adults don't keep score, so no child's self esteem is damaged by losing. Evidently, the oath needed some language to make sure that, in a majority vote, the minority wouldn't feel they were surrendering their dissenter's badge, being mistaken for a compromiser or a team player, or giving up their right to sue each other.

To wit: The signer agrees to abide by the decision of the board "even if on the dissenting side ..." but to "retain my rights to challenge any vote ..." "utilizing the proper decorum and the proper procedures ..."; to swear to "do nothing to destroy" the group, its principles or policy."

The capper ... the oath-taker must agree to voluntarily step down from the board upon "revelation and proof that I have violated any of the provisions" of the oath. Yet, Thornsberry has refused all calls from members to step down amid charges of by- law violations.

Dennis McDonald, the director who was forced off the board for protesting broken by- laws, the coup, divisive behavior and false information on finances and membership, said the oath reminds him of America's McCarthy era and communists in other countries.

Quote from the Timeline, regarding an AFF Sentinel issue:
Steve Dittmer of the Agribusiness Freedom Foundation writes a second article- The Inside Story of Lettersgate-with his "customary razor-sharp comments." Dittmer's hatred for R-CALF is well known and this situation is providing him with plenty of fodder for his articles.

Just for the record, I don't "hate" R- CALF - but I certainly disagree with their positions and methods.

Next time: Too Rich For Words-Part II

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2007 )
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