Park Service is Wrong on Predator Control

Response to Sept 4, 2014 Alaska Dispatch News Article: “Park service moves to block predator control on federal land in Alaska

When will these meddling outsiders get it through their heads, in most of Alaska “hunting” does not mean going out in the woods with a couple buddies and a few cases of beer to shoot animals as something to do when there are no sports of TV. This is how people eat, its about survival. All you self-proclaimed “environmentalists” are so worried about carbon emissions, think about what it takes to farm raise beef, process, freeze, then fly by jet to the grocery stores here in remote Alaska; and compare that to sustainable local harvest of delicious and nutritious wildlife.

The National Parks Service controls an area of Alaska that is about the same size as Massachusetts,Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, and West Virginia combined. If it was up to me, Alaska would completely take over ownership and management of all federal lands in the state except for military reservations and small areas around national monuments.

The locals know when there are too many predators. Local traditional knowledge, combined with modern tagging, tracking, and other assessment methods tell us how to manage wildlife to the maximum benefit of the people. And if locals decide that tourists looking at wolves is more important than eating moose, then the wolves will find their way to that area. If the locals want the helicopter gunships to come back and take care of the exploding wolf and bear populations, then let them. Predator control is not about sportsmanship, it’s about survival.

I trust local people to govern over their own lives, they are the most responsive to changing situations and needs, they are the ones that must live with the consequences.

Drugs and Laws

YES on 2Vote Nov 4th, 2014

Right now we have all these unlicensed pharmacists dispensing unregulated drugs in secret and shadow. Now the unlicensed and unregulated parts don’t bother me so much; it’s the secrets and shadows that cause the problems. Lets bring drugs all out into the open, so the consumer can be informed, so the sellers can have and build reputations for the quality of their products and service. That would solve most of the issues with drugs today; and the issues that decriminalization does not solve are already with us today and are being made worse by bad laws.

I hope no one misunderstands. I don’t think people should smoke pot, or anything else, but that is a very long way from thinking pot should be illegal or that my views against drug use is a justifiable use of force to collect tax dollars to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people for disagreeing with me.

I don’t want to use government to force others to conform to my position.

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.

Free Cars for All My Employees

Lets say that I own a company and that I feel safe and reliable transportation for my employees is so important that I choose to give each employee a car. I’m paying for the car, so I get to decide what type of car they get and what features it has. This is a gift for being an employee, or in other words it is an employee benefit. A benefit is just a gift with strings attached.

Lets say an employee smokes and demands that the car I give him has a built in lighter and ashtray, or an employee drives in from out of town and demands that the car I give him has satellite internet. They can demand and I can refuse; this is called a free market. I can also fire, and get less whiny employees; this is called free market. They can quit and go try to find another employer that will give them the type of car they want; this is called free market.

How about I just want to give them a basic car, purely no frills transportation. No power steering, no power locks, no power windows. Even if 99% of cars have these. I’m upfront with my employees and prospective hires. If they choose to work for me they know what to expect, no secrets there. And if they want those features, they can pay to have them installed. I could even give them cars with no airbags or seat belts, personally I never would omit those features, but the point is I should be allowed to give or not give them whatever I want; it’s my gift.

Facts about how air bags and seat belts save lives and are important features to a safe car are not relevant; no one should be allowed to force me to pay for them if I don’t want. That is called freedom. It’s also called stupid, but that is the great thing about freedom, freedom allows stupidity. Freedom allows choice. Any attempt to remove or limit choice is an assault on freedom. Freedom is choice. Force is authoritarianism.

As a Libertarian I oppose the initiation of force. In the above example, no one is forcing me to give anyone a car, no one is forcing someone to take a car, no one is forcing the car to have certain features. The parties involved in that exchange can use their leverage and power to negotiate a situation more conducive to their desires without initiating force or violence. An outside party (or even a government) can look in on this private situation and baulk at one one side offers and what the other side agrees to, but it is never their place to interfere with free exchange between consenting adults.

If you see a situation that you don’t like and you want to use the force (violence) of government to fix it, ask first if a problem can be solved with more freedom instead of less. If less freedom, then stop, you are out of line.

Back to the car example. To improve the choices for the employer providing the free car to the employees and to improve the choices the employees have to customize the cars to suit their desires, there are several ways for the government to provide more freedom. Equalize tax burdens so a gift of a car and the gift of money equal to what the employer would spend on the car are taxed or not taxed the same. (Gasp, do we dare to remove a crony tax loophole!) Reduce regulations that drive up the cost of cars, yes government should be in charge of defining standards it’s listed right there in the US Constitution, and yes an appropriate level of regulation forcing car makers to reduce the harm their cars might do to people that do not opt in to a fully disclosed risk. But for the most part there are a lot of shenanigans from the mining of the raw materials to the buyer registering the final product that needlessly drive up the cost of a car.

 

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.