Sedgwick, Maine versus the Feds

Maine Town Declares Food Sovereignty, Nullifies Conflicting Laws.” So reads the headline at the 10th Amendment center blog:

The Maine town of Sedgwick took an interesting step that brings a new dynamic to the movement to maintain sovereignty: Town-level nullification. Last Friday, the town passed a proposed ordinance that would empower the local level to grow and sell food amongst themselves without interference from unconstitutional State or Federal regulations. Beyond that, the passed ordinance would make it unlawful for agents of either the State or Federal government to execute laws that interfere with the ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, producers and processors are protected from licensure or inspection in sales that are sold for home consumption between them and a patron, at farmer’s market, or at a roadside stand. The ordinance specifically notes the right of the people to food freedom, as well as citing the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Maine Constitution in defending the rights of the people.

Andy Ellis pointed out on Twitter that Wickard v. Filburn disagrees, but it’s fascinating to watch the frustration with the political system. Think of it as a Tea Party for foodies, with hand-harvested Darjeeling milk.

Unmeddle Housing More

Last month, I wrote:

But after 50 years of meddling in the market, reducing the support for housing is going to be exceptionally complex and chaotic. And the chaos isn’t going to be evenly distributed. It’s going to be a matter of long, complex laws whose outcomes are carefully and secretly influenced. Groups who aren’t photogenic or sympathetic will lose out. (I’m thinking “DINKs” in gentrified urban areas.) Groups who aren’t already well-organized with good lobbyists will lose out. (See previous parenthetical.) Those who believed that the government housing subsidy would go on forever will lose. (“Unmeddling Housing,” January )

Now, the New York Times reports on the administration’s plan, calling it “audacious:”

The Obama administration’s much-anticipated report on redesigning the government’s role in housing finance, published Friday, is not solely a proposal to dissolve the unpopular finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is also a more audacious call for the federal government to cut back its broadly popular, long-running campaign to help Americans own homes. The three ideas that the report outlines for replacing Fannie and Freddie all would raise the cost of mortgage loans and push homeownership beyond the reach of some families. (“Administration Calls for Cutting Aid to Home Buyers,” New York Times)

Audacious would be to put the mortgage interest deductions on the table. This is a move in the right direction, but it’s not going to let people express their real preferences in a market. It will continue to distort the market, reducing people’s flexibility to move, and encouraging them to make their major asset a non-liquid one which is likely to decrease in value as the US population ages.

Police Officers should be able to speak out

I got this in email and wanted to amplify it:

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition prides itself on the willingness of our members to stand up and take action against drug prohibition. Last fall, LEAP member Joe Miller did exactly that. A California police officer for eight years before taking a position as a deputy probation officer in Arizona, Joe signed a letter in support of Proposition 19, California’s marijuana legalization initiative. He was fired for it. Now he needs your help, and so does LEAP.

Former deputy probation officer 
Joe Miller

As a retired police officer of 33 years who myself spoke out against drug prohibition as a private citizen while employed as a police officer, I am extremely disheartened by Joe’s termination and the bigger issue it represents. Firing law enforcement professionals for speaking out against policies they know are wrong is not only an unfair intimidation tactic but also a violation of First Amendment rights. I urge you to support their right to speak out by signing this petition now. Joe is not the first officer to face unfair termination for expressing his personal opinion. Former US border patrol agent Bryan Gonzalez’s case recently made headlines when he was fired after expressing his views on drug legalization to a fellow officer.

LEAP is always there to provide support to those ethical and courageous law enforcers who come forward and say that drug prohibition is a failed policy. Our speakers are law enforcement professionals who are as dedicated as they are distinguished. In the past month, our speakers have made 101 presentations and appeared in such prestigious publications as the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant, the Village Voice and the Miami Herald. We even got President Obama’s attention. Our speakers have become the go-to source for the law enforcement perspective on drug policy reform, and in the past week alone, we have provided expert testimony for drug policy related bills in four states. [You should give LEAP some money to help – Adam]

The ability of law enforcers to criticize the policies they are responsible for upholding serves a vital public interest. It lays the groundwork for much-needed reform, supports harm reduction efforts and provides tangible evidence that these laws simply are not working.

Law enforcement officers have a unique position to comment on the efficacy of our laws. We need them to be able to speak freely as individuals about their experiences. Even if they’re being foolish and telling me to “Just Shut Up and Be a Good Little Socialist,” I support their right to speak their minds, and not be fired for it. (Even if, as in Officer Pomper’s case, I believe he would have been well advised to shut up.)

But civil liberties aren’t just for folks we agree with. I think Joe Miller deserves his job back, and I urge you to sign the petition and consider supporting LEAP.

Mubarak and TSA agree: No advantage to them leaving

In “TSA shuts door on private airport screening program,” CNN reports that “TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.”

The advantage, of course, is that it generates pressure on his agency to do better. I hope that he’ll be forced to answer to John Mica, who encouraged airports to do this, and is the chairman of the committee on transportation and infrastructure.

I believe Hosni Mubarak made similar comments about not needing regime change.

TSA News roundup

Act:
Get this 2-page Passenger’s Rights Sheet: http://saizai.com/tsa_rights.pdf

Grope up: Enough is Enough edition

Daily Grope Up

On a personal note, I sent email to a social mail list at work, and I’ve never gotten so much positive response. People care deeply, and haven’t known where to go to complain or how.

It’s time to call your Senator!

There’s no news roundup today, the stories are flying, unlike people, who are sick and tired of the indignities, the nudeatrons and the groping. If you want to see them, you can follow me on twitter or National Opt Out day

Tomorrow, there’s a Transportation Security Administration Oversight Hearing whose only witness is TSA Administrator John Pistole. The good fellow over at opt out day has a list of Senators on the committee:

The committee chair is Sen Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) phone (202) 224-6472. The ranking member is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison 202-224-5922.

The subcommittee chair is Sen Byron L. Dorgon (D-ND) phone (202) 224-2551. The ranking member is Sen Jim DeMint (R-SC) phone (202) 224-6121.

Regardless of your home state, call the chairpersons to ask whether recent TSA abuses are on the agenda for the oversight hearing. Ask to speak with the staffer responsible for dealing with issues related to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Here is a list of committee members, their homepage and phone number. If one of these people is your Senator, please also phone them, either at the number below or look online to find their nearest local office – you can even visit in person. A constituent who knows a senator’s committee assignments and addresses issues for the agenda for a scheduled hearing gives him/herself an educated and powerful voice.

If none of these people is your senator, contact the committee chairs. Also contact your own senators and representative . They still need to hear your opinion, it’s just that they won’t be at this hearing.

D-AK Mark Begich (202) 224-3004

D-AR Mark Pryor (202) 224-2353
D-CA Barbara Boxer (202) 224-3553
D-FL Bill Nelson 202-224-5274

D-HI Daniel K. Inouye (202) 224.3934
D-MA John F. Kerry [(202) 224-2742
D-MN Amy Klobuchar 202-224-3244

D-MO Claire McCaskill 202-224-6154
D-ND Byron L. Dorgon phone (202) 224-2551
D-NJ Frank R. Lautenberg (973) 639-8700, (888) 398-1642

D-NM Tom Udall (202) 224-6621
D-VA Mark Warner 202-224-2023
D-WA Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441

D-WV Jay Rockefeller (202) 224-6472

R-FL George S. LeMieux (202) 224-3041
R-GA Johnny Isakson (202) 224-3643

R-KS Sam Brownback (202) 224-6521
R-LA David Vitter (202) 224-4623
R-ME Olympia J. Snowe (202) 224-5344, (800) 432-1599

R-MS Roger F. Wicker 202-224-6253
R-NE Mike Johanns (202) 224-4224
R-NV John Ensign (202) 224-6244

R-SC Jim DeMint phone (202) 224-6121
R-SD John Thune (202) 224-2321, 1-866-850-3855
R-TX Kay Bailey Hutchison 202-224-5922

Daily Grope-Up: The Groping Will Continue Until You Drive Edition