by Doreen Hannes
When the FDA answered FTCLDF (Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund) in the interstate shipment of raw milk suit, they stated four fully repugnant things. That you have no right to, nor does your child have a right to any particular food, you have no right to bodily or physical health, that you have no right to contract, and that they are “rationally” fulfilling their public health mission. It appears that they forgot to include that you have no right to privacy or free association along with no right of contract. With the recent actions against Rawesome, sting operations against Amish farmers, and the absolute destruction of Morningland Dairy, one can only surmise that the FDA, who pulls the strings on state level equivalent agencies, forgot to specifically deny the right to freedom of association guaranteed us under the First Amendment along with many others.
As many people have been covering these continual affronts to our very right to consume food that we want to consume, I don’t feel as compelled to conduct a full review every time I find myself in the position of covering a new travesty of decency. Maybe that’s laziness in the eyes of some, but the truth is we are against the wall in this country with the most basic of human rights, and it’s too late to be nice about it any longer. If people are still unaware that food is a controlled substance, they are not likely to read this article anyway. Unfortunately, we have another assault that needs to be brought to the attention of those paying attention.
Morningland’s cheese plant has now been shut down for just over one year. They’ve been to court and have filed an appeal on the judge’s order to destroy their wealth, and were taken to court again on June 13th and found guilty on one of three Contempt of Court charges brought against them for not rolling over and dying when the Milk Board suggested they should. They had to post bond again to keep their cheese from the hands of the destroyers until the legal wrangling is complete. Now the Attorney General says they must give up the names, addresses and phone numbers of individuals who are members in their private association. Denise Dixon says she will go to jail before that happens.
At the first trial, on January 13th 2011, the principals of Morningland of the Ozarks LLC, Joseph and Denise Dixon, notified the Attorney General’s office, the Missouri Milk Board, and Judge David Dunlap (although he rec’d his notification via mail) that they had closed Morningland of the Ozarks LLC, and had formed a private membership association that they hoped to be able provide with their own cheese once this issue was resolved. In the interim, they purchased cheese from two licensed, inspected facilities and cut it and shipped it to their membership. The Dixons drove to these cheese plants (one inWisconsin and one inKansas) and picked the cheese up. This takes the private group completely out of the accepted realm of commerce.
In his original ruling against Morningland of the Ozarks LLC, Judge Dunlap stipulated that the LLC was the only entity involved in this action. The Attorney General’s office made no move to personally enjoin either one of the Dixons from either making or selling or cutting or wrapping or eating cheese themselves. The Dixons even applied for a tax id number as Morningland Dairy, not Morningland of the Ozarks LLC.
But that doesn’t matter. Trying to make an independent living is now illegal.
The state is the Judge. The Judge says there can be no jury. The state is the Executioner. After all, this is the land of the free the home of the brave, where agencies steal and destroy property with impunity and if we don’t like it, we can leave. That is, if we aren’t already involved in some legal imbroglio.
I digress. But only a little bit.
Judge David Dunlap ruled that Morningland of the Ozarks LLC is to turn over to the Attorney General’s office all sales records (none), all production records (none), all sanitation records (none), all bacteriological test records (none), and all sales records (again?).
Denise and Joseph Dixon produced the invoices from the companies they purchased cheese from, and also invoices with the names redacted of the people they had sent cheese to from Feb 23rd through present. This wasn’t good enough. The Missouri Attorney General’s office claims that they must have the names, addresses and phone numbers of the private membership association or there will be a $100 per day fine ascribed to a defunct entity, and a defunct private membership association for failure to produce documents. That fine assessment began on August 22nd as per a letter from the Attorney General’s office.
Joseph and Denise are ready to go to jail before they will turn the names and addresses of the association members over in this action. They mean it. They are asking the court to reconsider it’s ruling to divulge the members names…. But there are things that have to be clarified before they go to jail.
These things make no sense to me in the legal realm of this case. We are dealing with four entities. One is the subject of legal action, that being Morningland of the Ozarks LLC (d/b/a Morningland Dairy). One is Morningland Dairy, the private membership association. The other two are scripturally one, being Joseph and Denise Dixon. The Court, and the Attorney General’s office have stated repeatedly that Morningland of the Ozarks LLC is the only entity involved in this legal action. However, they are comfortable finding a defunct entity, with no income or production, to be in contempt. They are also comfortable with forcing a private association to disclose their membership list in conjunction with a legal proceeding against a separate entity and with requiring the procurement of production records from other entities over which they have no jurisdiction.
If the logic employed by the Missouri Attorney General’s office and Judge Dunlap of Howell County Circuit Court is to apply to all of us (as it will if all of this is upheld), should you purchase some male performance enhancement herbs from anyone, and one of their suppliers is involved in a dispute with say the FDA, then the FDA will have the right to know that you bought such a product, and maybe they will even call you to find out how it worked for you.
Pleasant thought, isn’t it?
The AG’s office makes no bones about their assertion that the Dixons formed their private membership association solely to engage in unlawful activity. They think the Dixons are such hard nosed criminals that they are flaunting the law by letting the Milk Board, the Court and the AG’s office know that they are running a private association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution. Obviously, the Dixons are criminal because they believe they have the right to provide people with food that the people want and to try to make some money to pay for the electricity to continue to hold their arrested cheese for the inevitable destruction. In the Missouri Attorney General’s eyes, there can be no chance that the Dixons simply want to do what they have been dedicated to doing all along…..Provide living food to living people who share their continued interest in, ummm, living.
I guess we need permission for that now.