Rush Limbaugh Newsletter Carries Rabbit Regulation Report

Today, I discovered the hare-brained story I wrote about Marty Hahne (a.k.a., “Marty the Magician”) being required by the USDA to write a disaster plan for the three-pound rabbit he uses in his magic show is featured on page 4 of the September 2013 edition of The Limbaugh Letter!

Limbaugh Letter Sept 2013This news comes one day after I learned that the Ozark, Mo.-based magician had traveled to New York City to be interviewed Friday by John Stossel for an upcoming Fox Business Network special about strange government regulations that should air in October.

Talk about a story having legs!  It’s been hopping coast to coast now for 64 days!

For previous stories about Hahne and others being harassed by USDA officials, read my series, Chasing Rabbits.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

John Stossel to Highlight Magician’s Rabbit Disaster Plan

A lot has happened during the 33 days since I broke the hare-brained story Marty Hahne (a.k.a., “Marty the Magician”) being told by USDA officials that he write a disaster plan for the three-pound rabbit he uses in his magic act.  Much like the rabbit-related tale in which he was featured two years ago, news of the USDA’s most-recent heavy-handedness went viral.
Stossel-Hahne

L-R: John Stossel and Marty Hahne

On Friday, the Ozark, Mo.-based performer found himself in New York City as a guest of John Stossel for a Fox Business Network special about strange government regulations that should air in October.

Before that, dozens of other new and traditional media outlets showed interest. Among them were:  David Burge of IowaHawk; Mark Steyn at National Review; Dave Urbanski at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze; The Washington Post; and Fox News.

Eventually, the media onslaught caused the USDA to backoff.

If you have an incredible example of government run amok, let me know.  Who knows, it might just go viral, too!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

A Lot of People Are Interested in USDA Disaster Plans for Rabbits

About 24 hours ago, I shared news about Marty Hahne, an Ozark, Mo.-based magician who’s been told by USDA officials that he has to write a disaster plan for his rabbit.  Yes, the three-pound rabbit he uses in his magic act.  Now, the story has gone viral!

Rabbit Kill Cook Eat 2 6-28-13David Burge of IowaHawk shared the news on his Facebook page, writing, “I swear I am not making this up.  In the annals of government stupidity, this story may very well be the Mount Everest.  H/T Bob McCarty Writes.”

DavidBurgeFacebookMark Steyn — yes, the frequent guest host for Rush Limbaugh — ran with it in a piece at National Review.

Mark Steyn National ReviewAnthony Watts at Watts Up With That had fun with it in his Saturday silliness column.

WUWT Saturday SillinessFinally, Dave Urbanski featured it in a piece on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.

TheBlaze Marty Hahne Story

Others helped, too!  Among them, Grumpy Elder, The Camp of the Saints, Right Reactions and You Voted For ItThanks to all for helping spread the news about this insanity!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

USDA Tells Magician to Write Disaster Plan for His Rabbit

An Ozark, Mo.-based magician whose story about being harassed by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service agents (a.k.a., “Rabbit Police”) was one of three stories highlighted in an article two years ago, Marty Hahne contacted me today with an update.Rabbit Kill Cook Eat 2 6-28-13“You won’t believe what the USDA has come up with now,” Hahne wrote in an email message late Friday afternoon. If this wasn’t so stupid, it would be funny!”

He went on to share details about his continued harassment by the USDA — all for using a three-pound rabbit in his magic act:

My USDA rabbit license requirement has taken another ridiculous twist. I just received an 8 page letter from the USDA, telling me that by July 29 I need to have in place a written disaster plan, detailing all the steps I would take to help get my rabbit through a disaster, such as a tornado, fire, flood, etc. They not only want to know how I will protect my rabbit during a disaster, but also what I will do after the disaster, to make sure my rabbit gets cared for properly.  I am not kidding–before the end of July I need to have this written rabbit disaster plan in place, or I am breaking the law.

In his email message, Hahne also explained the timeline via which he must comply: 1) the new regulation became effective Jan. 30, 2012; 2) the written plan must be completed by July 29, 2013; 3) Hahne and his wife, Brenda, must be trained to implement the plan as written; and 4) the written plan must be available for review by USDA inspectors by Sept. 28, 2013.

In a reply to Hahne, I suggested he put a tag around his rabbit’s neck that spells out the plan (i.e., “kill, cook, eat”) for anyone who finds his rabbit after a disaster.  NOTE:  My high school son, the artist, put my idea of a plan into the graphic above, but I doubt it will satisfy the USDA.

If stories like this one irk you, contact your elected officials in Washington, D.C., and tell them to tell the hare-brained folks at the USDA it’s time for them to stop chasing rabbits!

UPDATE 6/29/2013 at 9:35 p.m. Central:  Here’s a copy of the 13-page letter (PDF) Marty received from the USDA.  Note the salutation on the letter: “Dear Members of Our Regulated Community.”  So personal!  [CORRECTION 6/30/13 6:35 a.m. Central Note: Last night I accidentally uploaded the wrong file a the PDF and someone let me know this morning.  Now, the right file is linked to the PDF above.  And it turned out to be more than 8 pages.  Sorry.]

UPDATE 6/29/2013 at 9:56 p.m. Central:  It’s gone viral!  See:  A Lot of People Are Interested in USDA Disaster Plans for Rabbits.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Retired Navy SEAL Fears Loss of Liberty, Subjugation to Socialists

On May 13, a “Final Rule” on “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies,” according to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, took effect.  I became aware of it today after a retired U.S. Navy SEAL friend sent me a note containing this link to a Government Printing Office web page on which the rule was published online April 12.  His note appears below:

Fed Register Entry 4-12-13“I had to contact my lawyer to translate this,” he wrote, “but in a nutshell, our liberty is shrinking faster than most folks think and this regime is setting itself up to subjugate us all…  Please read and forward to anyone who you think gives a shit about losing this country to socialists.”

Anytime someone like this, a guy who’s “been there and done that,” uses this kind of pointed language to describe something he finds troubling, I tend to pay attention and take his advice.

The main portions of the published language of this Final Rule appear below, modified only slightly in format and accompanied by the language of two published comments as well as DoD’s responses to those comments:

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

a. The purpose of this rule is to implement the statutory requirements for the Department of Defense support of civilian law enforcement agencies. This rule provides specific policy direction and assigns responsibilities to Department of Defense key individuals providing support to Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies, including response to civil disturbances within the United States, including the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any territory or possession of the United States or any other political subdivision thereof.

b. The legal authority for this rule is 10 U.S.C. 375, “Restriction on participation by Military Personnel.”

II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Rule

a. Support in Accordance With the Posse Comitatus Act — The primary restriction on DoD participation in civilian law enforcement activities is the Posse Comitatus Act. It provides that whoever willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute U.S. laws, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, shall be fined under title 18, U.S.C., or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. Section 182.6 (a) describes in detail the assistance that the Department of Defense may and may not provide civilian law enforcement agencies.

b. Support During Civil Disturbances — The President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to employ the Armed Forces of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances. Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, for civil disturbances is important due to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population. The employment of Federal military forces to control civil disturbances shall only occur in a specified civil jurisdiction under specific circumstances as authorized by the President, normally through issuance of an Executive order or other Presidential directive authorizing and directing the Secretary of Defense to provide for the restoration of law and order in a specific State or locality.

III. Costs and Benefits

This rule does not have a significant effect on the economy.  However, the Department of Defense may provide support to civilian law enforcement entities on either a reimbursable or non-reimbursable basis depending on the authority under which the support is provided. The benefit to the elements of the Department of Defense providing such support may include a benefit that is substantially equivalent to that derived from military operations or training. Additionally, the recipient civilian law enforcement agencies benefit from the Department of Defense’s substantial capabilities when those capabilities are not needed for Department of Defense missions.

Public Comments

On Tuesday, December 28, 2010, the Department of Defense published a proposed rule (75 FR 81547) requesting public comment. Two comments were received. Below are the comments and responses.

Comment #1. Comment on Proposed Rule: 32 CFR Part 182 DOD-2009-OS-0038. The definition given in Sec.  182.3 of “civil disturbance” is overly broad and encompasses any number of situations that the Legislature and DOD entities might not have in mind at the time of drafting this rule. It is my recommendation that specific reference be made to DOD Directive 3025.12 within Sec.  182.3 to allay any possible misreading of 32 CFR part 182. If Posse Comitatus is going to be suspended in times other than those specifically authorized by the Constitution, Congress must act to make the language clear and unambiguous. In addition, the definition of “Emergency Authority” in Sec. 182.3 and DOD 3025.12 is unclear. In what sort of a civil emergency can prior Presidential authorization be “impossible” to obtain. These two definitions read together give an extraordinary degree of latitude to DOD entities within the borders of the United States. Finally, I question whether a rule is the appropriate venue for an expansion of this nature. Perhaps this is a task best left to congress for full public scrutiny and debate. Should this really be a task left to the DOD to make a rule essentially gutting 10 U.S.C.A. 331-4? Despite the fact that this rule has received certification by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), I seriously question whether there are not significant implications for its enactment under Executive Order 13132 (Federalism). If it is left to the DOD to determine when force is necessary, absent a Presidential order and absent the cooperation of local authorities, Posse Comitatus is for all intents and purposes at an end.

DoD Response: No action required. This instruction cancels DoD Directive 3025.12. “Civil disturbance” is an approved definition in the DoD Dictionary and makes no reference to the Posse Comitatus Act being “suspended.” Also this rule does not make reference to the suspension of Posse Comitatus Act. It lists those actions that are permissible and restricted under the Act. The author also recommends that Congress, rather than DoD, make the language “clear and unambiguous.”

Comment #2. The Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. 1385, clearly applies to National Guard troops which have been federalized and are deployed under Title 10 authority within the United States. However, the courts have not definitively ruled on whether the Act applies to troops deployed under Title 32, and generally it is assumed that the act does not apply under those circumstances. If Sec.  182.4(b) of this rule is meant to clearly state that the National Guard is, in fact, to act in compliance with the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act while in support of civilian law enforcement officials while deployed under Title 32 authority as well as Title 10, then this is a welcome clarification of DoD policy.

DoD Response:  No action required. National Guard forces operating under Title 32 are under State control, and the Posse Comitatus Act would not apply. State law governs what actions State officials and State National Guard forces may take.

Do you think it’s worth sharing?  I’d love to know.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Missouri Appeals Court Rules Against Floating Horse Teeth

Almost 18 months ago, I shared the news:   Floating Horse Teeth Goes on Trial in Missouri.  Admittedly one of the strangest headlines I’ve ever written, the story had to do with Brooke Gray’s desire to continue practicing her profession of caring for horse teeth (i.e., “floating horse teeth”) in the state of Missouri.  Yesterday, I learned from the folks at the Freedom Center of Missouri that Gray appears to have lost her right to practice her profession in the Show-Me State.

In early January 2012, the Clinton County Circuit Court in Plattsburg, Mo., ruled that it can and will enforce a state law that forbids any non-veterinarian to accept payment for providing basic animal husbandry services.  The judgment allowed Gray, a young woman with eight years’ training and experience at removing sharp enamel points from horses’ teeth, to continue assisting Missouri’s animal owners—but if she gets paid for her efforts, she will be fined and possibly sent to jail.  The Freedom Center of Missouri, which represents Gray, had argued that the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions protect a citizen’s right to earn a living providing basic animal husbandry services.

Now, fast forward to present.  According to the Center‘s Dave Roland, the Missouri’s Western District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the state can make it a criminal offense for non-veterinarians to provide basic animal husbandry services to Missouri’s livestock owners.

Noting that the Missouri Veterinary Medical Board had threatened criminal prosecution against a wide range of animal husbandry workers, including those engaged in such common, basic tasks as castrating or dehorning cattle, Roland explained, the court ruled the government may impose criminal penalties if these non-veterinarian workers are paid for their labor, despite long-recognized constitutional rights to earn a living in a common occupation and to enjoy the gains of one’s industry.

The decision came despite the fact that non-veterinarians have performed this task for hundreds of years in order to improve horses’ comfort and ability to perform for their owners.

“The court’s ruling effectively strips the right to enjoy the gains of your own industry clean out of the Missouri Constitution,” Roland said.  “What good is a constitutional right if the government can simply declare that it no longer applies?”

Gray was baffled by the court’s decision.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” she said.  “I’m helping horses and horse owners, not hurting them.  The court seemed to confirm that literally anyone is lawfully permitted to do this kind of work and that it is the sort of ‘industry’ addressed in the Missouri Constitution.  So why is it a criminal offense if a grateful horse owner pays me for doing that work?  It just doesn’t make sense.”

The appellate opinion also stated that while the work itself might be legal, it would be illegal for Gray to tell anyone else about her skills – despite the fact that this issue was not raised as part of the appeal.  The trial court had concluded that the government was not seeking to prevent Gray from sharing any information about her knowledge and ability, and the trial court expressly declined to include any such prohibition in its injunction.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has made abundantly clear that the government has no power to prevent citizens from sharing truthful information,” Roland explained.  “Brooke is very good at what she does and she has every right to tell other people about it, especially when the work that she’s talking about is perfectly legal.”

The Freedom Center of Missouri intends to seek further judicial review of Gray’s case.

“Missouri is home to thousands of workers who have for decades safely and affordably helped farmers and ranchers manage their livestock,” Roland said.  “Their services are essential to this state’s animal agriculture industry and both our state and federal constitutions guarantee these folks the right to get paid for their work.  We’re going to keep fighting to make sure that those constitutional guarantees have real meaning.”

Order Books Graphic LR 6-15-13

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Constitutional Rights Under Seige — Not Just Guns!

While many Americans are rightfully concerned about preserving their Constitutional right to bear arms, other vital Constitutional rights are being threatened.  Case in point:  A Chicago-area woman was arrested for merely videotaping her neighbor’s arrest!

When CBS2 Chicago reported the news earlier this week on their website, they used a slightly-inaccurate headline, Two Naperville Women Arrested for Trying to Block Smart Meters.  In reality, one of the women, Kim Bendis, was arrested for merely videotaping officers as they arrested the other women, neighbor Jenn Stahl, as she was arrested for trying to block utility workers from installing a controversial “smart meter” at her home.

This isn’t the first time a citizen has been arrested for exercising a First Amendment right.

Since May 27, 2011, when I published a post about photographers’ rights, I’ve shared news of two other arrests under similar, but not identical, circumstances.

In a post Aug. 24, 2011, I highlighted an event during which U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican who somehow went on to win re-election, had police officers seize cameras from constituents attending one of his town hall meetings.  See video below:

One week later, I shared the incredible story of a Robinson, Ill., man facing up to 75 years in prison for filming police officers.  See video below:

If you’re a citizen journalist or simply someone who wants to gain a better understanding of his Constitutional rights, watch the video below and be sure to read about your rights.

"Three Days In August" Promotional PhotoBob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, The CLAPPER MEMO, is coming soon was released May 2013.