"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Monday, September 19, 2016

On the danger of feeding the poor, the lemonade stands and shoveling snow for your neighbors

Remember the times when a child could earn some money, and at the same time learn about work ethic, by setting up a lemonade stand in the summer?

Remember when it was ok to help those in need?

Those times are rapidly disappearing, and the reason why is our helpful and considerate government.

The government wants to protect you, me, us the consumers - from anything imaginable.

And, as part of that protection, the government started to protect us from those who help the poor, and from "kid's businesses".

So, in 2015 two girls, ages 8 and 7, were prohibited to "operate" their lemonade stand in Overton, Texas without the city's "peddler's permit".

And, a lemonade stand of 11-year-old kids was shut down in California, too - and kids operating the stand were threatened, by the police, with a $1,500 when they continued not just to sell, but to give away their lemonade and cookies.

And you know what the police told the kids about the reasoning behind the prohibition?  No, not protection of the consumers from potentially bad cookies and bad lemonade.  Instead, the reason was that it was "unfair" to allow the kids' lemonade stand selling or even giving away food and drinks, and it is unfair to those "proprietors" who "bothered" to obtain a selling license.

So, the reason, in the words of the law, was because the kids' lemonade stand interfered with the competition by dropping prices - something that has absolutely NO place in occupational regulation, because it is in violation of federal antitrust laws.

And in New York, a couple of kids were ticketed by police for operating a lemonade stand without a license.

Kids were prohibited to operate not only lemonade stands, but even services unrelated to food, like shoveling snow during a snow blizzard.

And in the same 2015, the town police of the town of Bound Brook, New Jersey, stopped high school students from going door to door offering their snow-shoveling services in a blizzard, because they did not have a $450 license (valid for 180 days) to do that. 

Reportedly, the police was "nice about it", was "only enforcing the law", was concerned about the kids safety in an emergency situation - but allowed the kids to shovel residents' walkways IF the residents would call them to ask for that.  Of course, to call in, the residents would need to, first, know the number, and know that such services are offered at that number.

In all of those situations, nobody asked the consumers whether they want that prohibition to protect them.

Nobody asked senior or disabled citizens of Bound Brook whether they would want their walkways to be shoveled by high school kids for several bucks so that they can get out of the house - even if those kids came to their doors and offered their services, instead of them first calling the kids (once again, you need to know the number to call it, and that involves costs of advertising, time to reach the consumer, and the necessity for the consumer to actually buy that advertisement).

So, what kind of services are washed out by these efforts by the government?

Cheap services, of course.

Because, if you get a $450.00 license for 180 days, your prices will go up to reflect that investment, and it will not be just a couple of hours after school, it will be a full-scale operation - so, kids were thrown out of their little business so that they would not interfere with the local snow removal businesses.  That same town, by the way, exempted non-profits from that same license fee - and I wonder whether there are a couple of non-profits in that town dealing with snow removal where the "fathers and mothers" of the town, or their relatives or friends, are part of the non-profits.

There are no guarantees in life - for anything.

For health, for wealth, for luck.

Any one of us, at any time in our lives, can fall on hard times.

What will happen to us then?

Did you ever think about what happens to the food that is just past "sell by" date, but is still, probably, good for consumption?

Thrown out, of course, tons and tons and tons of that food, because otherwise it is a liability for the supermarkets to just give that food away.  To the poor, to the homeless.

From 1/3 to 1/2 of food is being thrown away in the so-called "rich countries".

Under such circumstances, there should be no hungry in these same countries.  Right?

No, because supermarkets around the world not only throw away edible food, but, reportedly, pour bleach on the food that is already thrown away, to prevent the homeless from eating it.

Of course, there are contrary tendencies, too - not in this country, though.

In France, a national law was passed prohibiting supermarkets to throw away edible food, instead of giving it away to charities or to feed animals.

And, community fridges for the poor sprang up in Spain and Britain, for example.

At the same time, in the U.S. giving away food brings tickets, summons (as in lemonade stand stories above), and even arrests.

A 90-year-old man was recently arrested in Florida for a grievous, and repeated violation of the law and is facing 60 days in jail and a $500 fine - for repeatedly feeding the homeless.

Of course, that was for protection of the homeless from bad food - that's what the reasoning for such ordinances is usually declared to be.

And this is how it was enforced:

"...four police cruisers and approximately a half dozen officers with the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department descended upon an area in the city where Abbott, charity representatives and church members were handing out hot meals to local homeless people.

One officer demanded that he “drop that plate right now” as others picked up the trays off food and inserted them directly into the garbage with lines of homeless people looking on."

When a government official plucks a tray full of food in front of a line of hungry people and throws it into the garbage, right in front of them, that's, of course, done for those hungry people's protection and for no other reason.

And, Ft. Lauderdale's ordinance is actually not only against sharing food, but against any other "life sustaining activities".  So, you are restricted by the government from providing a life-sustaining activity for your fellow men - or women - who have fallen on hard time.  You need a costly license for it.

In all of the above, the government not only displays it does not give a damn about the poor - but that it wants the poor to remain poor, indefinitely, and to strip them of their pride of earning a living.

Because the easiest way to start a business is to start selling what you cooked - that is, if no immediate investment is required.  And, this way, to earn money for your family.

But, if you have to put down $450 that you do not have, before earning a penny, for a snow-shoveling license, or, for a permit for a lemonade stand - your business will never open.  Which is exactly what is happening in this country - where occupational licensing is stifling cheap, affordable and diverse services under the guise of "consumer protection".

And, if the government is REALLY interested in protecting the consumers while not further stifling the economy and this country's labor market by preventing new small business from emerging through endless and burdensome licensing laws, the government would at the very least exempt from licensing fees not the rich charities from licensing fees, but individual applicants based on their incomes.

It is common knowledge that most small business do not survive through their first two years.  What about completely exempting new small businesses, based on income of their founders, for those first two struggling years, from any government regulation fees?

That way, food stands will still be regulated, and consumers will still be protected - but there will not be a money-based ban on the poor to start a business of selling food they cook, or selling snow-shoveling services, or selling any other services that are currently licensed to prevent entry of new providers into the market.

Where is the American dream?

How can future Bill Gates raise their businesses from a garage - or a lemonade stands - if their efforts are nipped in the bud by stifling licensing requirements?

The government should practice what it preaches.

It enacts occupational licensing laws to protect consumers - it needs to protect consumers, not to stifle the poor from developing their businesses and ability to earn a living, and certainly not to stifle those who want to help the hungry.

Preventing people from providing cheap or free food for the hungry should be a crime. 

It is certainly a sin - do the predominantly Christian people in government who enact and enforce such laws remember that?

Winter is coming, and with winter, harsh times for the poor, and for the disabled.

People will need cheap services to shovel snow, to provide shelters and to share food.

If we as taxpayers have enough money to go after lemonade stands, church stands feeding the hungry, and high school boys shoveling snow for their elderly or disabled neighbors, we certainly have the money for income-based licensing incentives to make regulation of food-related businesses both protecting consumers and not stifling small businesses, especially those operated by the poor and serving the poor.

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