Libertarians respond to Hobby Lobby ruling

Once again the Libertarian perspective is the most reasoned and most inline with the basic principles of freedom and liberty. Even for this red herring of an topic. Below is the official statement from the national Libertarian Party. -Andrew C. Lee

In response to yesterday’s Hobby Lobby ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict made the following statement:

It’s strange that liberals and conservatives are making this ruling out to be a huge deal. All the ruling does is remove a very narrow coverage requirement, in very specific cases; 99.9 percent of Obamacare is upheld.

It’s true that closely held corporate entities should not be forced to pay for this particular contraceptive coverage. But focusing on that narrow issue misses the bigger point: No employer should be forced to provide any health coverage at all.

This ruling just draws the line between freedom and regulation arbitrarily. If these employers are free to ignore this particular mandate, why aren’t other employers free to ignore other Obamacare regulations? They should be.

Obamacare is unjust and unconstitutional from top to bottom. No employer should be forced to provide health coverage to its employees, or penalized by government if it doesn’t…


No Knock Cop Shot, Killed

A grand jury has refused to indite Henry Magee for the shooting death of an intruder in his Somerville Texas home in December 2013; despite the fact that the home intruder was police sergeant Adam Sowders, who was reportedly acting on official business.  There are several reactions I have to this.

First, I feel bad for the law enforcement officer that was killed and his family. I never want to see the police killed, even in tv and movies I dislike scenes where cops are getting slaughtered. Several of my friends and former co-workers are law enforcement officers; through them I have a small hint of what it means to be in that profession, which is much more of an understanding than most people. I don’t want to see them being ordered into situations that are more dangerous than they need to be.

I also feel bad for the victim of the no-knock police raid, he was forced into a situation where he felt he had to kill someone in order to defend himself and his family. I can easily see myself being in the same situation and doing the same thing. Most people would, and the members of the grand jury also agreed. Just because we have different preferences in houseplants, doesn’t change the situation enough in my mind.

That brings me to these houseplants. When is the last cop going to die and the last father imprisoned over a stupid plant? I hope soon. Too many have died and too many are in prison over differences in gardening preferences.

Perhaps the most concerning part of this situation is that police felt the need to barge into a house at 6am with guns drawn. Was this guy a hermit that never left his residence? Did the police have enough intel to know that he might have some illegal plants but not enough to know when a safer time was to arrest him. This type of raid must be curtailed; invading a house pre-dawn with guns drawn should not be a first resort nor a preferred method. Arrest him as he pulls out of his driveway, or when he gets out of his car at the grocery store. Sure, it takes a little more surveillance work and it’s not as much fun as a night time raid; but correct me if I’m wrong to believe that it has a higher survival rate.

All these police home invasion stories remind me of two formative cases from my early teen years. In one a man who called himself David Koresh, a cult leader who orchestrated the systematic rape of girls and young teens, was sought by police. Despite law enforcement knowing that he went on a run outside his compound every day, and despite having infiltrated his organization with an undercover agent, the BATFE conducted a frontal assault resulting in the death of four agents. A minimal understanding of centuries old tactics says to avoid attacking the fortified castle when the leaders can be captured outside the gates.

The other case that comes to mind is that of Randy Weaver, where an angry neighbor lied to authorities, and federal informants and agents conspired against him, and where  paperwork and communication errors caused a bench warrant to be issued, and where overzealous feds escalated the situation over eight years with targeted harassment, starting as a non-violent misunderstanding to one agent dead and federal agents killing his dog, his son, and his wife. Weaver was acquitted and his surviving family paid $3.1M in a settlement.

We need leaders who understand that the powers of government are derived from the natural rights of the citizens of that government who choose to invest a portion of their individual sovereign rights into the collective powers of the nation. When this happens new powers are not created, nor is the responsibility abnegated by the source individuals to ensure that power is wielded correctly by their proxies.

As Lt. Governor of Alaska, I hope to work with other Alaskan leaders to ensure our law enforcement officers and agencies are provided with all the tools needed to conduct reasonably safe, prompt, and respectful operations. Equipment is only one factor; and I don’t want our police and troopers to look like an occupying military force. Important too are sound engagement practices, being a cop can be very hard we need to allow officers to use the proper tools and tactics to get the job done in as safe a manner as feasible.

Andrew C. Lee for Alaska Lt. Governor Announcement

Andrew C. Lee files to run for Lt. Governor of Alaska. Nome, AK

Andrew C. Lee files to run for Lt. Governor of Alaska. Nome, AK

Alaska Friends: The morning of May 29th I put on my least grubby Carhartts, went down to the Nome elections office and filed my official paperwork to run for the Libertarian Party nomination for the office of Lt. Governor of the State of Alaska. Voter access and vote integrity are very important principles to me and are at the core of the duty entrusted to the Lt. Governor. My intense interest in and familiarity with science and technology make me well suited to fulfill the duties of Lt. Gov related to these fields. The technical and legal nuances of guarding the State seal sounds like fun to me; I promise not to take it clubbing.

I hold no illusions about my chances to win this election. If I do win, I will serve in the elected position to the fullest extent the office requires. I know some will mistakenly dismiss me as only trying to receive the 3% that State law requires every party to obtain in each Governor’s race to maintain the party’s ballot access for all seats in the next elections. They are wrong. I am running for the job, I am running to win. There are serious issues where the Libertarian perspective differs greatly from the other parties and would be better for Alaska and Alaskans; our voice needs to be heard.

I suspect that many of you may wonder if I am too liberal for this role, either as the Libertarian candidate or the elected Gov Lite of Alaska. Over the next few weeks I will be posting more statements to my blog on various topics which will help explain my viewpoint and thought process. You will have seen many of these comments before, either on social media or private conversations; I will be consolidating these into one place and expanding them for clarity. A link will be provided once I have made sufficient updates to the site.

A few brief points, which serve as part of the foundation of my views:

I value principle over popularity. I balance practicality and principle.

Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re controlling what someone else is doing. As a Libertarian I am the opposite, I am most unhappy when I am in charge of controlling what someone else is doing. I don’t want to use government to force others to conform to my personal positions.

We are a society of laws. Laws must be obeyed and enforced; if they are not worthy of either, then they must be repealed.

We need to keep all the promises that have been made, and we need to stop making unsustainable promises.

The Alaska State constitution requires that we spend the maximum amount on social programs and capital improvements that we can sustainably spend from royalty revenues derived from oil production and other resource development.

I ask first if a problem can be solved with more freedom instead of less. I say the truth as I see it as often as I can. I change my mind every time I see myself as being wrong.

I hope each of you will consider me when choosing how to vote, and decide for yourselves if I am good enough for your vote.

Andrew C. Lee
Libertarian Candidate for Lt. Governor of Alaska, 2014

Voter ID

Across the United States, there is a growing movement to pass laws that would prohibit from voting the following underrepresented groups: dead people, non-citizens, non-registered people, and people that do not cast ballots. these draconian laws would make voting almost as hard as getting on an airplane, renting a movie, or buying alcohol. Plus, it would make it very difficult to vote multiple times or to vote for other people. What has our country come to? How could people be so mean?

It amazes me that requiring photo ID to vote is even an issue that spurs debate. I find offensive the blatant racism of those who believe that certain groups are too stupid to be able to figure out how to get a government ID and bring it to the polling place. If official government IDs are too hard or too expensive to acquire, then that is the problem we should fight to fix.

I may be wrong to support a voter ID requirement. As with every issue, I welcome opposing and challenging viewpoints. I am open to learn and change should anyone prove to me that I am in error. But if you are going to challenge my opinion, do not make it theoretical. Bring me an actual counterexample, a specific real person that would be harmed or wronged by the policies I support. Thus, we can then compare the potential harm done to some by enacting a policy vs the potential harm done to others by not exacting it.

Invalid votes, that are cast and counted the same as valid votes, serve to undermine the voting power of the legitimate voters. The power of individuals to vote is a fundamental principle of our society.

I encourage all supporters of stricter voter ID laws to each help one person from their town obtain the required ID, if such a person can be found that would otherwise be prevented from voting due to lack of ID. Take the time to help them and pay their $15 State ID fee. I pledge to sponsor two, if they can be found.

Overall, the State of Alaska Division of elections has done an excellent job with voter access and integrity. The current voting laws and regulations of Alaska are among the best in America.

In Alaska, anyone can go into a polling place and vote; if there is some question about the legitimacy of their vote, they will be asked to vote a questioned ballot, which will only be counted if they are determined to be a valid voter. Even a ten year old can go and demand a ballot, and will be given a questioned ballot. Silly? Yes. Worth it in order to help protect everyone’s power to vote? Definitely.

2010 Alaska US Senate Race

In the 2010 US Senate race in Alaska, several interesting events occurred, requiring unprecedented decisions by elections officials, and in some cases reversal of previous precedent. For the most part, everything was handled as well as could be expected. While I would do a few things differently in the same situation, the outcome would have been basically the same. I should also point out that many of the people who made those various decisions would also do a few things differently, with the benefit of hindsight; overall they did a reasonable job in a demanding circumstance.

One of the complaints was that one candidate’s votes were being counted by hand, while all the others were being machine counted only. Machine counts are more strict, more likely to undercount, and they can vary each time the cards are recounted by the machine. Equal protection under the law is an important and fundamental principle of our society. I would have granted the request to hand count votes for each candidate that requested it, provided the candidate agreed to pay the additional expense if the hand count did not vary from the machine count by a significant margin, perhaps one percent.

Interpretation of voter intent was another topic of contention. Strict interpretation of State law required that one of two strict and specific formats be used for a write-in vote; “Lastname” or “Lastname, Firstname”. We are not strict and specific machines, we are intelligent and compassionate humans. I felt that the Division of Elections guidelines for interpreting voter intent were reasonable, although I might have been slightly stricter which may have effected 100 votes. The bottom line is that if someone goes into a voting booth with the intent to vote for a candidate, and they make a reasonable effort to do so, then that vote should count for that candidate.

Many people fault Mr. Miller for continuing the fight longer than they felt he should have. I do not. In certain ways, the Miller camp was not treated in a fair and equitable manner. Some of these ways were not addressed because it was recognized by the decision makers that no substantial difference to the outcome would be achieved. Joe Miller is a man of principle, and it was for principle that he was fighting. It was Miller’s duty and obligation to fight, not only for the 90,740 people that voted for him, but for the greater principle of justice and equality. When time ran out before the next congress was to be sworn in, and continuing the fight would cause harm to Alaska, Miller did the better thing and conceded so that Alaska could maintain continuous representation in the Senate. While I do not agree with him on many issues, I respect Joe Miller.

Vote NO on prop 4 (2008)

I did some research into the effects of proposition 4. Here are the real numbers of how many mines (read: people/corporations) will be effected (shutdown) if proposition 4 passes.

The key number from my findings is that OVER 373 mines in Alaska would be shutdown within 5 years of this initiative becoming law, because required permits are only valid for 5 years or less.

Executive Summary: The mining shutdown initiatives would effect mines over 640 acres. For State Mining Claims there are 1134 persons with claims, 325 persons have over 640 acres; that is 28%. For State Offshore Permits or Leases there are 15 persons with leases or permits, 9 with over 640 acres; that is 60%. For State Mining Leases there are 86 persons with claims, 39 with over 640 acres, that is 45%. These numbers of effected persons are lower than the actual number, because the Initiative includes more acreage than those counted by the State data files used and use the ambiguous wording of “in combination with adjoining, related or concurrent mining activities or operations”.

I can provide a more detailed breakdown of the data, if requested.

This poorly written (or ingenuously deceptive) initiative would most likely shut down my operation once my permits expire in 3 years. I already have my operation reviewed by 16 government agencies, and get permits from all of them that require it. Since the area is over 640 acres (a very small number when talking mines), I am classified by the idiot initiative writers as a large-scale mine. Despite the fact that I only have two pieces of mining equipment and disturb less than an acre a year. The EPA, CoE, Coastal Management, and others among those 16 agencies already protect the water and fish; except they use science and informed processes to make their decisions, unlike the prop 4 people.