Farmers stage pitchfork protest over absurd fines for hosting birthday party
by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
NaturalNews) Dozens of Virginia farmers are up in arms after one of their neighbors was targeted by county officials for holding a birthday party and produce fair on her own property. Martha Boneta, owner of Liberty Farms in the northern Virginia village of Paris, has been threatened with up to $5,000 in fines for selling things like homespun yarn and birdhouses, along with farm-fresh produce, during a recent birthday party she held for her friend’s 10-year-old daughter.
Fauquier County Zoning Administrator Kimberly Johnson (http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/government/committees/agfordistadvcomm/) reportedly sent Boneta a cease-and-desist letter not long after the seasoned farmer held the birthday party at her farm back in April. The letter demanded that Boneta obtain special permits to sell the fruits of her own labor on her own property, or else face multiple fines totaling roughly $5,000.
Boneta had already obtained the appropriate permits last year; however, which allow her to sell produce and crafts at her retail farm store in accordance with the law. But since Fauquier County apparently made a few quiet adjustments to its regulatory guidelines since that time, Johnson and her colleagues at the Board of Zoning claim that Boneta is technically in violation of these supposed laws.
Boneta responded by challenging these ridiculous allegations, of course, as did many of her neighbors who showed up at a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing on August 2 with pitchforks in hand. According to The Blaze, Boneta ultimately lost the appeal, but she plans to file another one in the very near future. In the meantime, Boneta has shut down her farm stand while she prepares for the upcoming harvest, and is collaborating with her neighbors and supporters about how to proceed.
“It’s rather odd that I’m the only farmer in the county having these issues,” said Boneta to FOX News. Boneta believes that a disgruntled neighbor filed a complaint with the county, which prompted county officials to launch a crusade against her. “It’s customary to do these things. It’s done on farms throughout Virginia to help farming and agriculture. Why would I need a permit for a pumpkin carving?”
Popular Reggae Artist Releases Brand New Anti-Chemtrail Anthem Music Vid: Skull – Cry Die
Join us for the biggest food freedom event of 2012 – Lemonade Freedom Day
by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Coming up in just a few short days is an amazing opportunity to join thousands of other like-minded individuals in taking a unified stand for health and food freedom. From Friday, August 17, to Saturday, August 18, the Raw Milk Freedom Riders (RMFR) will help co-host Lemonade Freedom Day, a special two-day event in the Washington, D.C., area that aims to educate the public about how to demonstrate peaceful non-compliance in the face of tyranny, as well as how to rally and organize others to do the same.
In the tradition of earlier raw milk freedom rides, which drew attention to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s continued assault on raw milk sales and consumption (http://www.naturalnews.com/033904_raw_milk_Freedom_Riders.html), Lemonade Freedom Day will raise awareness about the importance of defending our collective freedom of voluntary exchange, or the freedom to peacefully buy and sell the foods of our choice from the producers of our choice without government oppression.
Raw milk dairies, lemonade stands, home gardens, and various other independent food suppliers and producers have been the target of an increasing number of government crackdowns in recent years. Citing things like lack of permits and various other violations of the law, local and federal agents have made it their new priority to threaten, fine, and even raid the properties of individuals that buy and sell food outside the system, including young children that are simply trying to make a few extra bucks selling refreshing beverages to their neighbors on hot days.
“Two groups of activists known as the Raw Milk Freedom Riders and Lemonade Freedom Day are taking their raw milk and lemonade to the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to celebrate what they call their right to ‘voluntary exchange,’” says the official announcement by Lemonade Freedom Day, which is headed by health freedom activist Robert Fernandes.
“Recent shut downs of children’s lemonade stands and SWAT-style raids on small farmers have inspired these mothers and other activists to take their message to the Capitol where they plan to risk criminal charges, and possibly jail, by gathering for a picnic with these illicit foods. Media are invited to witness the peaceful exchange.”
Beginning at 2:00 pm on Friday, August 17, a workshop entitled “Knowing Your Rights” will take place in the D.C. area, followed by a farm-fresh dinner. Speakers will include Farm Food Freedom Coalition co-founder Liz Reitzig, Executive Producer of FarmFoodFreedom.org Max Kane, and many others. The suggested donation cost for the workshop and dinner is $30 per person.
Day two of the event will commence at 12:00 pm at 3rd Street Southwest between Maryland and Jefferson Streets near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Event attendees will practice civil disobedience by drinking fresh milk, lemonade, and other foods and beverages that have been the target of government officials.
To learn more about Lemonade Freedom Day, be sure to visit:
You can also sign up for the workshop and dinner on August 17 by visiting:
The Lemonade Freedom Day Facebook page can be accessed here:
The trigger for this entirely personal discourse comes from reading various articles and viewing various YouTube videos and speeches from self-styled champions of liberty (COL). There is even an entire conference, Mark Skousen’s FreedomFest, dedicated to the topic.
Invariably, these well-meaning COL rail against “The Man” (something I do myself), accentuating their public angst by sharing stories of being molested by the TSA or otherwise inconvenienced by minions of the state. It is my contention that most of these individuals, and certainly the majority of “freedom-loving” Americans, don’t actually understand the meaning of liberty, but rather give the matter little more than lip service.
And again, I don’t mean liberty in an abstract way – like, say, “world peace” – but tangibly.
Now, before going on, tripping emotional wires as I do, I feel the need to quickly establish my bona fides on the topic. I start with the simple fact that with age, and 58 years old counts, comes perspective. In addition, unlike most of today’s COL, I have actually been jailed for rioting against authority – at the naïve age of 14, as the result of actively participating in the toe-to-toe anti-war confrontations during the Oakland Induction Center Riots of the late 1960s.
In addition, as over-the-top as it now sounds, along with my now-departed friend and colleague of many years, Jim Blanchard, I spent many months assisting the RENAMO-led freedom fighters raise awareness in their fight against Mozambique’s vicious dictatorship. The adventure ultimately ended up with us in a very tight spot under house arrest in neighboring Malawi, followed by a high-speed car chase with the Malawian secret police in hot pursuit.
I have been directly involved with prominent members of the freedom movement in the US as part and parcel of my business career since a very young age, including running the 1980 Libertarian Presidential Nominating Convention in Los Angeles at the request of my friend Ed Crane, the founder of the Cato Institute. Furthermore, I have been friends, business associates, or acquaintances with too many well-known COL to recount here, starting with my business partner of many yearsm Doug Casey, but also Harry Browne, Milton Friedman, and even Ayn Rand (I arranged for and hosted her at her last public appearance before she died).
And, finally, I would mention my involvement in helping to create La Estancia de Cafayate in a remote wine-growing region of Argentina, without question the largest and most successful community of largely libertarian-minded individuals on the planet.
All of which is to say that I’m not arriving to this discussion fresh off the back of a turnip truck.
So, what does liberty mean to me?
In the simplest and purest terms, it means being free to come and go as I please.
Of course it would be my strong preference to come and go without the charade and indignity of transportation security instituted by most nations these days (ironically, the “Land of the Free” being the worst of the lot). But, unlike some prominent COL, I don’t make the mistake of conflating transiting airports with protesting against the inanity of transport security.
That’s because if I wanted to mount a protest against TSA, I would do it in an organized fashion. Say, by arranging for a large and loud demonstration at whatever passes for TSA’s headquarters, making sure that the media was there to provide coverage. I certainly wouldn’t do it ad hoc without media present, on a day when I actually needed to travel from point A to point B.
After all, like trees falling in remote woods, if a protest happens and there’s no media to record it, was there a protest?
The polar opposite to being free to come and go as one pleases, the essential tenet to my personal definition of liberty, is to be trapped in a jail cell. Been there, done that – and very much have no interest in doing it again.
Thus, I avoid engaging in activities where one of the possible outcomes is being arrested and jailed. For example, making angry displays when a TSA minion asks me to take off my shoes.
Now, I realize that the degradation of principles and justice in countries such as the US means that pretty much everyone breaks a law or three every day, but miscarriages of justice resulting in an innocent person being sentenced to jail (or gunned down) are statistically very rare. Yes, they happen – but so does getting struck by lightning. Thus, when I talk about acting in a fashion unlikely to lead to being locked up in a cage, I’m talking about playing simple odds.
And no, I don’t need to be a cowering sheep to keep the odds of my being jailed near zero. Rather, I just need to take note of the laws of whatever land my feet are currently planted on and avoid tripping over the big stuff.
In the US, for example, walking around with a bag of pot in your pocket could lead to jail time. In Uruguay or Amsterdam or dozens of other countries, it’s legal. So, when in the US – again, ironically still called “the Land of the Free” – I can manage without the pot. (Actually, I’ve done without pot for many decades; I’m just using this as an illustration.)
Failing to pay the legally proscribed amount of taxes is another easy way to end up in jail. As a US citizen, there’s no denying I’m trapped in a tax regime I find abhorrent and counterproductive to the building of capital. That’s a big disadvantage compared to many countries.
But am I willing to trade my liberty for the money I might be able to hide from the IRS? Hardly. That would be the equivalent of choosing the latter when confronted by a gun-wielding thug demanding my money or my life.
Does this mean I’m powerless against the institutionalized theft of taxation? Not at all.
It just means I have to work harder to uncover legal ways to minimize the tax bite, starting by hiring good counsel. And let’s not forget, for the citizens of most countries, minimizing the tax burden is as simple as getting on a plane, as – unlike the Land of the Free – they don’t tax non-resident citizens on worldwide income.
As for US citizens, if the issue is important enough to you, there are specific steps you can take to legally avoid the taxes altogether, by replacing the passport you carry in your pocket. It’s not particularly quick or easy, but if paying less (no?) taxes is that important to you, then there are clear paths to accomplishing just that objective without risking the loss of your liberty.
I’m not making these comments cavalierly, but rather to point out hard facts about the world we live in.
So, freedom to come and go is the core principle of my personal liberty. What else?
Well, part of that freedom has to do with personal finances. Namely, you can have all the liberty in the world, but if you don’t have the money necessary to actually travel, you probably aren’t going to get very far… at least not in a fashion you might enjoy.
While there are countries such as North Korea where the government makes accumulating any wealth almost impossible (unless you are part of the dictator’s inner circle), in most of the world, this aspect of life – call it “financial freedom” – has far more to do with a person’s willingness to work hard than anything else.
That said, I readily acknowledge that governments everywhere are a constant weight on the entrepreneur’s back. Yet, simply looking at the facts as they are, I personally know dozens of people, here in the US – and in places like Argentina, where the government makes doing business an order of magnitude more difficult – who, through their own creativity and exertions, are fabulously successful.
As something of a tangent, while generalizations are rarely useful, in my direct experience many individuals who paint themselves as libertarians have trouble coming up with the proverbial two nickels to rub together. Doug Casey and I have discussed this on more than one occasion, and I don’t think either of us has a good answer. If pressed to it, I would hypothesize that it has to do with a latent inability to work as part of a team, something libertarians tend not to be very good at but which is often required to launch a successful career. In support of that hypothesis, look no further than the reality that the Libertarian party has never been able to mount an effective national political campaign.
Back to the point, despite the government’s meddling, financial freedom is imminently attainable for individuals who focus on their work and who put in steady efforts at increasing their personal knowledge (including learning how to handle your money, once you have some). Of course, succeeding may not be easy… it rarely is, though it can be.
While I’m sure there are additional nuances to my personal definition of liberty that I could mention, the big point is that as long as I am free to come and go as I please and have the capability to build the wealth I need to do so, then I have pretty much all the liberty I need to enjoy my limited lifetime on this planet. After all, with those two conditions in place, if one place becomes too unfree for my taste, I can move on.
“Wait a second!” some of you may find yourselves thinking indignantly.
What about the wholesale trampling of the US Constitution in recent decades? What about the militarization of the domestic police force here in the US? What about the loss of freedom in the Land of the Free?
I might respond with a sad shake of the head and by mouthing words such as “tragic,” or “damn shame,” or even “it’s outrageous, criminal even.” And there’s no question it’s all of those things and more. The idea of America in its youth was amazing, especially considering the era in which it was birthed. But that idea has been so diluted at this point to be almost meaningless … here in the United States.
And therein lies the importance of being able to travel freely. You see, unlike many, I refuse to define myself by the artificial borders that were determined solely by an accident of birth. Why should I?
Do I relate to the idea of America? Of course; what thinking person wouldn’t? But during these philosophical Dark Ages for freedom in the United States, what practical purpose does clinging onto that idea serve?
To use an overused comparison, what practical purpose would it have served for the head of a Jewish family during Hitler’s Germany to stand on a street corner handing out anti-Nazi pamphlets? The obvious answer is “none.” It would have just resulted in the ultimate loss of liberty – his death and likely that of everyone he loved.
Personally, I look at the Americans and I see a people who have been very effectively brainwashed, or who simply have given in to the entirely human tendency to shuffle unquestioningly onto the path of least resistance and let themselves go.
I see a people who, on a wholesale basis, have consciously or unconsciously decided to trade the idea of America for the false security of a totalitarian state.
While there are voices in the woods, such as Ron Paul, that warn of the consequences, I’m trying to focus today on hard realities. And the hard reality is that if you were to assemble all 300 million US citizens in an auditorium to listen to well-presented arguments for less vs. more government and then ask for a show of hands, the vast majority would raise their hands in favor of the current system that has the state deeply involved in pretty much every aspect of the economy and society at large.
Remaining Pussy Riot members promise more protests
By David Ferguson
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 13:10 EDT
While three members of the notorious Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot sit in Russian prison cells on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” remaining members have promised more guerrilla performances and protests. According to Reuters, the all-woman group, which has 10 to 20 members at any given time and no fixed lineup, say that they are aware of the danger, but have vowed to carry on, anyway.
One woman, who goes by the name “Mother,” said, “For me, to put a balaklava on, it is, there is a fitting English word for this, ‘honor.’ ‘Pride’ has an ambiguous meaning in Russia, but it’s an honor.”
The band members currently in prison, Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were arrested earlier this year for a protest which took place February 21, when the women stormed the altar at Russia’s largest cathedral and staged a performance of a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary, asking her to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors are seeking sentences of three years for the women.
A band member named “Terminator” told Reuters, “Nobody can mute us, nobody can forbid us to do what we want… We want Russia to be a better place… We won’t stop, we would do it again.”
Mother urged women everywhere to “don balaklavas and stage riots of their own” in solidarity with the jailed band members. Rock stars like Madonna, Björk and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke have spoken out on behalf of the band, urging the Russian government to drop the charges against the women and release them.
A verdict in the case is expected on Friday, August 17.
Watch the clip, embedded via Reuters, below:
Watch Björk dedicate the song “Declare Independence” to the members of Pussy Riot at a concert in Finland on Saturday, video embedded via YouTube, below:
Filed Under: ACTIVISM
About the Author: