Archive for the ‘Criminals to We The People’ Category
Spare the nation the ordeal of impeachment
Paul Joseph Watson
June 8, 2013
A new petition launched on the whitehouse.gov website demands that President Obama immediately resign over the innumerable unconstitutional actions he has overseen, notably the recent scandal surrounding wiretapping of journalists.
The full petition, which can be found here on the whitehouse.gov website, states the following:
President Richard Nixon resigned after wiretapping a handful of journalists, sparing the nation the ordeal of impeachment. We call on Obama to do the same. His administration vetted the NSA’s surveillance of millions of Americans and seriously violated the Fourth Amendment. He confiscated the personal records of reporters, thus violating the First Amendment, and the IRS under his watch harassed political organizations opposed to his policies. Moreover, his administration has lied under oath to Congress. In addition to violating Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution by invading Libya, his administration engaged in torture and conducted a covert drone war. Due to the severity of these crimes, we call for the immediate resignation of Barack Obama.
The petition requires 100,000 signatures before July 7 in order to mandate an official White House response.
Aside from recent wiretapping and surveillance scandals, there are a number of other issues over which Obama has clearly abused his authority and acted unconstitutionally.
– Obama failed to obtain congressional authorization for the war on Libya in 2011. Under Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the power to declare war lies with Congress.
– In June 2011, President Obama arrogantly expressed his hostility to the rule of law when he dismissed the need to get congressional authorization to commit the United States to a military intervention in Libya, churlishly dismissing criticism and remarking, “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question.”
– In July 2011, Congress specifically rejected the Obama administration’s attempt to seek approval for war on Libya but the White House later supported a NATO-led assault anyway, terming it a “kinetic” action.
– Obama tried to legitimize his failure to obtain Congressional approval for military involvement by sending a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner in which he said the military assault was “authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council.”
June 8, 2013
Jeff Greenwald takes Senator Lindsey Graham to task for defending the destruction of the Fourth Amendment.
Unfortunately, Greenwald insists on using the false left-right paradigm to make his argument. He says the senator from South Carolina is “one of the most right-wing members of the United States Congress.”
Obama is often described as a left-winger and even a socialist. Despite this, his support for the surveillance and war state apparatus mirrors that of Graham, minus a few minor ideological flourishes. Right, left, socialist, conservative – these designations are about as relevant as the color tie worn by senators on a particular day.
Lindsey Graham is not a right-winger. He is an establishment neocon. Graham is one of the primary promoters of the contrived war on terror. It’s his job to push the idea that cartoonish Muslims in far away caves pose an ominous threat to the United States. He says due to this never-ending supposed threat we must surrender our constitutional rights and consent to the military industrial complex stealing trillions of our hard-earned dollars in order to wage illegal and criminal wars in places of interest to banksters and transnational corporations. Instead of protesting the loss of liberty, we are expected to celebrate its demise, as Graham does, and thank the state for its intrusion into the minutest personal details of our lives.
Graham does not oppose the “National Security Administration,” as he calls it (it’s an agency), listening in on his phone calls because he enthusiastically supports the implementation of a high-tech police and surveillance state supposedly in reaction to phantom terrorists who never seem to attack. He is a military dictatorship fetishist who adores war and the simplistic idea of foreign enemies that must be fought against with eternal vigilance.
Lindsey Graham is one of the most dangerous enemies of liberty. This is not especially surprising or unusual because many of the most dangerous enemies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are in Congress.
Earlier this week, senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss used the phony war on invented terror to say basically the same thing Graham did following the latest revelations about the NSA.
Congress supports the NSA going through what amounts to your underwear drawer. If they opposed it, Congress would move to strip the NSA of its authority to surveil millions of Americans. A few mavericks like Rand Paul still exist in Congress, but they are vastly outnumbered by lickspittle servants of the shadow government and the military authoritarian agenda of the global elite.
Lindsey Graham, Dianne Feinstein, Saxby Chambliss and the rest have sold their souls to the Devil for power, money and fame. It does not bother them in the least that the NSA listens to their phone calls or reads their emails. They are bought and sold like chattel. It is their job to make sure you are unable to practice your God-given natural right to be free of government coercion and violence. It is their duty to make sure you become a slave and never realize your potential to be a free human being.
June 18, 2012 by Bob Livingston
The Southern Preposterous Lie Center — laughably known in some locations as the misnamed Southern Poverty Law Center — has issued its summer list of “activists” heading up the “radical right.” Tenth Amendment Center executive director and Personal Liberty Digest™ contributor Michael Boldin is one of the 30 people listed.
Boldin’s sin, according to the preposterously pro-Marxist, anti-American Preposterous Lie Center, is that the TAC “is on the far right, opposing a whole array of federal laws and regulations. It has gained wide support among hard-line libertarians…” He “evidently runs the organization from his home,” the SPLC exclaims, as opposed, I guess, to a palatial estate like the one the SPLC occupies in the heart of Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, that includes six stories, cost $24 million to build — not counting a $5.5 million addition — and takes up most of a city block.
Boldin has also, the SPLC notes, “crisscrossed the country, taking the TAC’s nullification message to supporters known as ‘Tenthers.’ Its ‘Nullify Now!’ conferences have been held in cities… (as opposed to caves, where the SPLC thinks he and his fellow Neanderthals should hide?) These conferences are often headlined by prominent figures in the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement, which has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last three years. The Austin (Texas) gathering, for instance featured Art Thompson of the John Birch Society… and Stewart Rhodes, head of the conspiracy-minded Oath Keepers, a group that encourages police officers and soldiers to disobey ‘unconstitutional’ orders… The TAC’s partner in this endeavor is the Foundation for a Free Society, which espouses the libertarian free-market theories of Murray Rothbard and the Austrian School of Economics.”
Oh, my! What subversives Boldin rubs shoulders with. How can anyone suggest police and soldiers disobey unConstitutional orders, support organizations that espouse free-market theories or oppose some Federal laws and regulations?
That’s an interesting view coming from an organization that claims it “is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.” I suppose the SPLC believes it’s now time to give Bull Connor, Birmingham police officers and Alabama State Troopers a pass on the dogs and fire hoses. After all, they were only following orders. Martin Luther King Jr. and his “uppity” followers should have just accepted that discrimination was a fact of life. And can you say Lt. William Calley Jr.?
But such is the irrationality of the SPLC, an organization with “poverty” in its name but whose two founders draw salaries exceeding $300,000 annually; that has five more staffers drawing six figures; that took in $76.6 million in fiscal year 2011; and that was sitting on $228.7 million in assets, according to its tax return. And, yes, the organization that claims it “was founded to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement became a reality for all” has only whites in its top eight wage earners and only one minority on its senior staff.
If that’s not enough, the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program, reputed to promote diversity, has been headed by a white person for 20 of its 21 years.
The SPLC is about — according to its website’s masthead — “fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice.” One example of SPLC’s fight against hate and its love of tolerance can be found in a recent post on its website (since scrubbed) entitled “An Open Letter to the Good People of Iowa: Are You Crazy?” written by SPLC staffer Mark Potok.
What did Iowans do to set off Potok? Here are his words:
I used to think you were a pretty straight-ahead place, what with all that flat land and healthy vegetables and honest living. I mean, Iowans rejected slavery 20 years before the Civil War and they approved interracial marriage a century before the Supreme Court. Homosexuality was decriminalized almost 30 years before the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision did so nationwide. Today, control of the state’s legislature is split between Democrats and Republicans and, a few characters aside, it is not particularly known for political extremism. Like the corn it produces in such copious amounts, Iowa generally seemed a healthy and sensible place.
That idea of the state ended for me this morning, when I read the proposed platform released on Monday by the Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa. Are you people totally insane?
The platform, as first pointed out by ThinkProgress, is absolutely thick with ideas from the extreme right, lunatic conspiracy theories, and barely concealed hatred for President Obama and anything that smacks of multiculturalism. It sneers at science, is down on poor people, and despises, really despises, the United Nations.
Now you might ask what insanity the platform proposed. Here is the text. Among the issues that Potok thought insane were (along with his commentary):
- Require candidates for president to prove that they are “natural born citizens,” beginning with the 2012 election. After all, non-citizens serving as president have been a longstanding problem in American politics.
- Reject the “claims” of global warming, which are “based on fraudulent, inaccurate information” and pushed by people using “extremist scare tactics.” The Iowa GOP “recognizes” that policies and laws designed to combat global warming are really “a plan to take our freedoms and liberties away.”
- Oppose “the diabolical collusion of the United Nations” in promoting its Agenda 21, a non-binding global sustainability plan signed by President George H.W. Bush and the leaders of 177 other nations in 1992. Like the Republican National Committee, the Iowa GOP apparently believes Agenda 21 is part of an effort to impose global political control on the U.S.
- Eliminate the Federal Reserve Act and implement a “sound commodity-backed currency” with a gold or silver standard.
- Fight the North American Union, “which would do away with our borders and sovereignty, and … [battle] the Amero, which would do away with our currency.” Although there actually are no secret plans to merge Mexico, the United States and Canada into a single entity — and replace our dollars with “Ameros” — that hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theorists.
- In the same vein, “oppose so-called ‘World Government.’”
- Entirely eliminate the departments of Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Energy, Interior, Labor and Commerce, along with the Transportation Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- Likewise, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and repeal the 16th Amendment, which legalized the federal income tax.
- Require judges to instruct jurors that in addition to judging cases, they may pass on the law at issue. Commonly known as “jury nullification,” this is a highly controversial notion that is embraced by the radical right.
- Pass a “stand your ground” law, like the one that many believe led to the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. By a large margin, most prosecutors and police oppose such laws, which make prosecuting many killings difficult.
- Allow parents to refuse to have their children immunized.
- Reject the teaching of multiculturalism.
- Only teach evolution as a theory, along with creationism.
- Repeal compulsory school attendance laws.
- Eliminate the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees job safety.
- Repeal smoking bans because, as the platform statement asserts, “We believe this to be an issue of liberty.” Air quality in all businesses should be left up to owners’ “freedom to choose.”
- Repeal all hate crime laws.
- Oppose the imposition Shariah, or Islamic religious law, in the United States, along with any other foreign or “United Nations Law.”
- Build a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico.
- Oppose abortion and reject the Supreme Court’s decision authorizing it.
- Build a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico.
- End minimum wage laws.
- Oppose abortion and reject the Supreme Court’s decision authorizing it. Encourage adoption and aid to unwed mothers — but only if every dollar of support comes from the private sector.
- End subsidies to agriculture.
In other words, advocating for personal freedom, a return to the Constitution and opposition to global governance is insanity.
In 1994, the Montgomery Advertiser wrote a series entitled “Charity of riches” that exposed the graft and corruption of the so-called “civil rights charity.” Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Magazine wrote in 2010 that the SPLC’s chief mission was to separate wealthy liberals from their money. If only that were the case.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media regularly go to the SPLC’s listing of “right wing hate groups” for story ideas and use the organization as a source for information on racism and intolerance. These serve to advance the false meme that all liberty lovers are terrorists and racists who are plotting to march on Washington with guns blazing.
Progressives, socialists, Marxists and other totalitarians can’t abide dissent because their ideas, when exposed and explained, are rejected by most Americans. So people like Brett Kimberlin and groups like the SPLC are used by them in an attempt to shut down opposing voices — Kimberlin and his ilk through intimidation and violence; the SPLC by spreading lies and misinformation in its attempts to brand freedom lovers as haters, racists and bigots.
Calling someone a racist simply for disagreeing on policy is a typical tactic of fascists on both sides of the false political spectrum (it is often done in commentary on this site, and no doubt will appear below), and it has become increasingly popular in this age of the “post-racial President.” The SPLC uses its preposterous lies, straw man arguments and logical fallacies to promote a leftist, anti-American, totalitarian agenda.
But back to Boldin. He and his Tenth Amendment Center are doing good work in exposing the unConstitutional laws being pushed upon us by government and educating Americans about the Constitution and legitimate — according to the likes of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson — ways of resisting and rejecting government overreach.
I hope he wears his listing as a badge of honor. And while I didn’t make the cut, I’m on the radar. Two years ago, the SPLC fabricated from whole cloth a story about a racist-themed picnic and poetry contest I was supposedly hosting for my employees. That story, posted under Hatewatch, had as much legitimacy as the SPLC’s “charity work,” its Hatewatch blog and the various (un)intelligence reports it puts out daily to push its agenda.
Nov 19, 2012
Day 6: 95 Palestinians killed, 720 wounded.
The title of this post is harsh. But the one I first considered was even more so: “Barack Obama, go to Hell.” I am so glad I didn’t vote for this man for president. At the time I cast my vote I did it thinking I was doing the right thing. But in my heart regretting it. If I had voted for him, now I my heart would be turning bitter as gall.
Here is what this sorry excuse for a leader had to say today in Thailand:
“[T]here is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes…
Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated.”
I also discovered this statement which appears to have been made separately and covers related, but different ground:
“Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference in Bangkok at the start of a three-nation visit to Asia.
“If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable,” Obama said. “It’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It’s also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”
Let’s address this lame excuse for a political argument. First, it could’ve been (and possibly was) drafted by an Aipac staffer. It’s directly taken from pro-Israel talking points. You’ve heard the same bullshit from Michael Oren a hundred times. What this argument omits is that Israel has Gaza in a stranglehold. It has turned the enclave into a virtual prison having no economy, no exports, no ability to travel in or out. Gaza is occupied in effect by Israel. This occupation is illegal. Any nation has a right to resist such an occupation.
I do not support firing missiles from Gaza into Israel. But I do not support Israel’s occupation of Gaza either. I do not expect Gazans to roll over and play dead for Israel’s benefit or for the benefit of a U.S. president who has his head up his ass.
The real issue isn’t whether Israel has a right to attack Gaza. The issue is how to get at the root causes of this conflict and resolve it. F-16s, drones, targeted assassinations and helicopter gunships only kick the football farther down the road, as Mitt Romney so aptly put it (who’d have ever thought that Obama would actually follow a Mideast policy outlined by Romney).
Obama says he’s opposed to an Israeli invasion not because many Gazans will be killed (he clearly doesn’t care about that) but because Israelis will die. Have you ever heard anything so callous? Yes, I suppose in all the history of this conflict there have been far more callous statements. But by a U.S. president? Not so many.
Barack Obama: go to Hell. You don’t give a damn. You don’t have a moral bone in your body. Give back that Nobel Peace Prize. You don’t deserve it. In fact, you’ve pissed on it and turned it from gold to (cast) lead.
(Guardian, Steve Bell)
Former Israeli national security advisor Gen. Giora Eiland, on the other hand, made anamazingly forthright statement about what should be the outline for a fair resolution of the current impasse in Gaza. For that reason, of course, it will be ignored by those in power. But it still deserves a fair hearing:
“Israel’s bottom line interest toward Gaza is a security issue – that they won’t fire at us,” said Eiland, who also served as the head of Israel’s National Security Council. “Consequently, if we can reach an arrangement, it’s preferable to give ground on certain political issues in exchange for a better security arrangement.”
This sort of agreement would include “a mutual cease-fire and an Egyptian guarantee of not just quiet, but also that no weapons will enter Gaza,” Eiland said, adding that “this arrangement would be guaranteed by additional parties, for example, Qatar and Turkey.”
Among the political compromises that could be made in exchange for such a security arrangement, Eiland listed lifting the naval blockade of Gaza “so that the European Union member countries could send under supervision dinghies into Gaza’s port.”
Eiland also suggested that Israel recognize Gaza as a state under Hamas’ rule. “This is a country a ruled by an elected government and I expect that this government will act in a responsible manner, like a state would,” Eiland said.
“It’s not enough to say ‘Hamas will surrender,’” Eiland continued. “We need to give something, if not to Hamas, then to others. It’s impossible to reach a point where one side will surrender. Sometimes we become captive to slogans like ‘We won’t talk with Hamas.’ I say the opposite. It’s a fact that Hamas rules Gaza and that Gaza is a state. We need to recognize this and utilize the advantages this situation presents.”
The thinking is that if Israel recognizes Hamas as ruler of Gaza, it will place the onus on the Islamist group to run Gaza and fully control what happens there. In effect, Eiland is saying to make Hamas put their money where their mouth is: you want to rule this place–do it. And if you don’t, we and the world community who are enforcing this agreement will hold you accountable.
There is also a strategic element to his thinking that is unspoken. If Israel breaks Palestine into two entities, then Palestinian strength and aspirations for statehood will be even more fragmented than they are now. Hamas will have less interest in creating a coalition government with Fatah because it will control its own fiefdom in Gaza. The West Bank and Gaza may be permanently severed. That part of Eiland’s strategy is pernicious in the long-term. But it doesn’t mean that much of what he’s saying wouldn’t make things better than they are now in Gaza itself.
I can’t tell you how refreshing this breeze is. It’s a bit of truth. And coming from a general bristling with medals and lots of dead Israeli enemies under his belt. This is not some peacenik or “Arab lover.” This is the very same dude who whitewashed the Mavi Marmara massacre on behalf of the IDF, for whom he investigated it.
I do have to say though that there’s a strange dynamic at work in Israeli politics: when you’re an official and within the system, you lie and say things that make you and your country sound like an idiot. When you leave the system, all of a sudden you become a seer and things you didn’t appear to know or couldn’t say come tripping off your tongue. The same phenomenon occurred with Ehud Olmert after he resigned his prime ministership. While he was in office he tried to sell Mahmoud Abbas a bill of goods in the guise of a legitimate peace agreement. After he left, he called the settlements a cancer eating at Israel’s insides.
So some of this may be at work in Eiland’s change of heart, if you can call it that. But who cares? Truth is truth whether it comes from a sane person or a mad man.
Something further that is interesting here is that Eiland is making these statements–ones that cut to the heart of the weakness of Israel’s “mowing the grass” approach to Gaza–only five days after the start of hostilities and even before the expected invasion. In other words, the general is already saying the emperor has no clothes. The way this usually works is that the critics wait until a few weeks in after the soldiers and civilians have started dying in significant numbers. That’s the time when the body politic becomes more receptive to such contrarian thinking. So Eiland is bucking this trend and deserves credit for doing so.
When you read the following you will understand my outrage directed against Barack Obama. Today should be the Kfar Kana or the al-Samouni moment in this war. The former was the tragedy during the 2006 war when Israel attacked a Lebanese village near a UN base killing scores of civilians. After that atrocity, the war was essentially over though Israel didn’t realize it at the time. My fear is that the murder of 12 Gaza civilians in a bombing that flattened a 3-story apartment building filled with civilians will not be enough of a tragedy to end this growing madness. More of the innocent may have to die before the world tells Israel: Dayenu!
The al-Dalou family was sheltering in its home from the bombardment. Earlier, two male family members had left to procure supplies because they feared an imminent invasion. They survived. Five women, four children (all between two and five years-old) and two men died. One of the women was 81 years old:
Khalil al-Dallu screams. “They said Mohammed was alive!” he shouts as emergency workers pull the body of a young man from a Gaza City home levelled by an Israeli strike on Sunday. His face quickly crumples into tears as the emergency staff tell him that his cousin is in fact dead — one of six members of the Dallu family killed when an Israeli missile struck the Nasser neighbourhood, flattening the three-story building where they lived.
“The whole family is martyred!” he cries, as the body of 35-year-old Mohammed al-Dallu is placed in an ambulance.
“What was the sin of the children and the infants, Israel?” he screams, raising his hands to the sky.
The emergency workers carry on with their grim task. By the time their work is done they have pulled 11 bodies from the pancaked building and others around it. The body of Mohammed’s wife is also retrieved, as well as those of five of their children. The body of another woman, also a family member, is also pulled out although she is not immediately identified.
The strike has also killed two of their neighbours from the Muzzana family.
Mohammed’s father, Jamal, and his 17-year-old son Abdullah, are among the survivors. When the Israeli strike happened, they were out buying food to boost the family’s stocks because they feared an Israeli ground invasion.
Jamal leans on a bloody electricity pole for support, overwhelmed at the horror and loss in front of him, his relatives crowding around as pieces of his grandchildren are plucked from their former home. Near hysterical with anger and sorrow, Ibrahim shouts: “Don’t tell his brother Abdullah, the trauma will kill him!” The brother, 26-year-old Abdullah, is currently studying inTurkey to become a doctor.
… Ahmed Hato, 13, is still dazed by the sudden death visited on the family.”I was playing with the sons of the neighbours at the entrance to the street. There was a huge explosion, the earth shook and dust and rocks went everywhere. I don’t know how, but I ended up on the ground and without injuries,” he says.
Ahmed’s father can’t watch the rescue efforts, and doesn’t answer his phone. Instead he cries openly for Mohammed, whom he saw just an hour before the strike. Mohammed, a Hamas police officer, “was a good man, moral and kind to everyone,” he says. “Everyone loved him. His death is a huge loss for the family.”
It turns out, as it often does in these sorts of IDF incursions, that the IAF was trying to assassinate the head of Hamas’ rocket warfare unit, Yechiya Rabiah (must be the guy who took over from Dirar Abusisi after his “forced retirement” at the hands of the Mossad and Ukrainian intelligence), who lives nearby. Ooops, they got the wrong house. Another intelligence failure. Only killed 12 innocent civilians as a result. Terribly regrettable. But if Rabiah would only do the IDF the favor of living in an open field so it could kill him cleanly, these sorts of things wouldn’t have to happen. You know how that Hamas uses civilians as human shields.
What created even more bitter irony is that just as when it dropped a bunker buster bomb during the 2006 war on Hassan Nasrallah’s Beirut hiding place, the IDF crowed that it’d taken out yet another terrorist bad guy. Turns out that Nasrallah and Rabiah are very much alive. What do you say in the midst of such insanity: woops?
Even an IDF journalist-stenographer like Avi Issacharoff writing in Haaretz concedes the Gaza operation is “starting to get into trouble” because too many civilians are dying. All I can say is boker tov buddy, civilians were dying from the first moment of the fighting. It’s just that now they’re starting to pile up like cordwood. But if Issacharoff wants to wake up only today on day six, it’s better than sleep walking through an entire war before realizing 1,400 Gazans have been slaughtered as happened during Cast Lead.
At what point does Barack Obama become moved enough, or boxed in enough by this suffering that he’s finally got to get off his ass and do something?
By the way, Israeli polls find that while 90% of Israelis support the Gaza war (only 16% support a ceasefire), only 46% support an invasion while 32% are opposed. That’s a sizable minority viewpoint.
Editors Note: Lynn Dartez
(This is happening everywhere. Time to stand up to those who think there in charge!!!! Learn what the Constitution has to say about this crap )
August 27, 2012
American Thinker was the first to report about how Fauquier County, Virginia attempted to fine farmer Martha Boneta for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a special events permit. She was also fined for selling her farm produce without a special administrative permit, even though she had a business license that allowed those sales.
As also reported here, Martha the farmer lost her appeal before the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals. What has not been reported is that Fauquier County, without explanation, refused to renew her business license just days before her appeal hearing. She has been forced to shut down her small farm store where she sells organic vegetables, fiber, and feather products from her farm animals (she has over 160, most of which are rescued), as well as beeswax candles, goats milk soaps, and other products from her farming activities.
Because she could not sell her organic vegetables in this critical part of the harvest season, Martha donated them to a local food bank before they rotted. Fauquier County zoning administrator and bureaucratic bully Kimberley Johnson is probably busy concocting some charge against Martha for giving away her veggies without a permit. No tomato is beyond the reach of tyrants.
One local newspaper editorial claimed that Martha could have saved herself a lot of trouble and money had she just gotten the $150 administrative permit to sell her farm products. The message from a few purveyors of free advice is that had Martha just lacked principles and done what her master, an unelected government bureaucrat, had dictated to her, she’d be in a better place. But beware of free advice from statists.
Martha had a business license to operate a tiny farm store that sits scenically amid her farm animals and organic vegetables. In 2011, however, Fauquier County added a new requirement for farmers, which it called a “special administrative permit.” The county’s board of supervisors touted this new permit as an improvement on and a clarification of what farmers could sell on their private property. Puh-lease.
One local environmental group with an unusual amount of influence over Fauquier County officials was assuredly behind the 2011 administrative permit. This group touted the county’s recent controversial winery ordinance as a balance of interests. The ordinance forces wineries to close at 6 p.m., defines and limits “personal private gatherings” allowable at wineries, and is a gross affront to property rights and civil liberties. The interests being balanced seem to be statism and revenue.
The administrative permit that Martha the farmer rejected in the name of fighting for liberty is highly restrictive of the rights of farmers. The permit is vague and open to selective enforcement. For example, it limits farms sales to only agricultural products, at least 50 percent of which must be grown at the farm, and anything not grown at the farm must be labeled as such.
The permit therefore makes it illegal for farmers to sell ice-cold water and other beverages. Under the permit, farmers may not sell books with pictures of the county, home-spun art, farming artifacts, or even any literature authored by the farmers themselves on farming, animal husbandry, and the like.
Even when conditions demand it, farm stores are limited in supplementing their produce by bringing in vegetables from neighboring farms, making mortgage and property tax payments more difficult than they already are. And the permit is not clear: is it 50 percent of each type of vegetable, or 50 percent cumulatively of all the vegetables that you sell? Only zoning czar Kimberley Johnson knows for sure.
The administrative permit also restricts what may take place at corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and other farm events for children. Fauquier County obviously doesn’t want children to get the full farm experience — oh, but we already knew this, since the county penalized Martha for that birthday party.
Perhaps dumbest on the new list of don’ts is that farmers must keep dust from their driveways. You read that right: Fauquier County wants dust-free farms. The permit provides no guidance about how much dust is illegal. Farmers typically don’t pave their driveways because — well, because they live on farms.
Kimberley Johnson wrote to one person that farmers should water their driveways. This means that during hot, dry spells, farmers would need to divert scarce water from crops and livestock, or face fines.
Martha could have opted into the new, more restrictive permit requirement. She instead opted to use the phrase from Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener: “I would prefer not to.” In doing so, she has made herself a hero in the fight against government that breaks the law, and the anti-liberty faux environmental groups that use government for their own corrupt agendas.
What has not been reported is that in March, zoning tyrant Johnson sent her assistant Andrew Hushour, without probable cause or a judge-signed warrant, to investigate Martha’s farm for a “boarding house” violation. Martha, you see, had college students staying at her home near the farm. The students were volunteering during their spring break to learn about organic farming.
Hushour, coincidentally, had four armed county law enforcement officials with him.
Days before the pitchfork protest for Martha, one county official told me that Martha is under a tax audit. I told this official that whether this is true or not, it would be illegal for anyone to disclose it to him.
Thousands of times per day, government violates the law, bullies its citizens, and compounds its grab of our property rights and individual liberties. We don’t hear about most of these incidents because most people fear government retribution and decide to cave in.
Martha’s cause, it seems, will help expose more than just government abuse of zoning laws in Fauquier County.