Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 1, 2011


Man who kills grizzly while protecting his family is charged by Feds

Jeremy M. Hill was outside his home in Porthill, ID when 3 grizzly bears, a female and her two cubs, entered the yard.  Hill’s children were playing in the area and, unsurprisingly, Hill believed the bears to be a threat to his family.   So he shot and killed the female.  Then he notified the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  That’s where he made his mistake. He’s now being charged federal court with one count of killing a protected species.  Apparently his children don’t rate that distinction.

“Jeremy did the right thing, he called Fish and Game,” Keough said. “I think that prosecuting this case really sets back the grizzly bear recovery effort. … People are saying, ‘Boy, if that happened to me, there’s no way that I’d report it.’ That’s a human reaction.”

Exactly.  My guess is if he had it to do over again, he’d just quietly bury the bear and be done with it. 

Additionally, the charges are being brought despite the recommendations against such charges by the state and US local Game and Fish representatives:

They also issued a news release, saying that Idaho Fish and Game officials had recommended against filing charges in the case, and that local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials had concurred.

Chip Corsi, Idaho Fish and Game’s regional manager, declined to comment on his agency’s stance on charges, but said: “He had three grizzly bears in close proximity to his kids, family and livestock. He had reason to believe there was a threat.”

But, as with most faceless bureaucracies, a decision to prosecute was made over the recommendation of the local representatives by a person far removed from the reality of the situation:

Joan Jewett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland, said she couldn’t comment on the case specifically. In general, however, “we do an investigation and turn over our information and evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s office and the U.S. Attorney makes the decision on whether to prosecute or not.”

And that’s precisely what has happened.  Hill is charged with killing the bear and of course now has to now defend himself against the charges.  As you might imagine, that’s an expensive proposition.  However, outraged neighbors are stepping up to help:

Community members raised $19,558 for the Hill family last week at a 4-H animal sale in Bonners Ferry. Hill’s 14-year-old daughter, Jasmine, was selling a pig she raised named Regina. Bidders bought and sold Regina 15 times, with the final bidder giving the pig back to Jasmine Hill, saving it from a trip to the butcher.

“It was a statement – we’re with you, Jeremy,” said Rob Pluid, of Bonners Ferry, who helped organize the continuous bidding.

Accounts for the family have been set up at Mountain West Bank, Wells Fargo and Panhandle State Bank, said Donna Capurso, chairwoman of the Boundary County Republican Central Committee.

Meanwhile, Hill has a court date of October 4th.   A strange and wonderful thing happened at his arraignment:

So many friends and family members showed up to support Jeremy M. Hill at his arraignment that the hearing was forced to move into a larger room at the U.S. Courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

This is another example of an absurd waste of taxpayers money, not to mention prosecutorial stupidity.  Justice isn’t the unthinking enforcement of laws.  Extenuating and mitigating circumstances are certainly something which are considered in every case.  There are things which happen, such as in this case, which any thinking person should understand mitigate the law’s enforcement.  Threats to one’s family fall in that category. 

Additionally, when you have agents in the field and charged with enforcing those laws in agreement that no charges should be filed based on the circumstances of the case, you’d better have a damn good reason for proceeding.  If I were the judge, the first question I’d ask the prosecution is why they chose to proceed.   And if I didn’t get a good answer I’d dismiss the charges.   “It’s the law” isn’t a good answer.

Oh, and even if it does go to trial, good luck empaneling a jury that will convict the man. 

We’ll watch and report.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


All the trappings of a police state

Imagine living in a place where the authorities can record everything you say or do without your consent, however if you do the same – for your own protection – that’s a felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

Sound like a place you’d want to live?

In fact, that’s precisely the case in Illinois. Watch this illuminating 15 minute video. If it doesn’t make you furious, then you simply don’t care about your Constitutionally guaranteed rights. And you’re perfectly fine with the creeping fascism that seems to be infecting parts of our country:

 

Recording conversations and events pertinent to your legal situation, standing and rights, especially when dealing with public officials in their official capacity, should not be in question.  Ever.  Wanting a record makes perfect sense and, as you might imagine, has a tendency to keep conversations and actions in line with the law and on a much more polite and civil level.

Most importantly, it is something you must have every a right to do.  Why is it they get a legal right to privacy (i.e. can deny consent) when the citizen doesn’t enjoy the same right?   That’s not how I understand the purpose of the Constitution and the rights it guarantees the citizens.  It is government it prohibits from violating the rights of citizens not the other way around.

I can certainly understand the law saying one must inform a public official that he or she is being recorded (a simple, “hey, I’m recording this” would suffice), but beyond that, I see no requirement that they give obtain consent for that recording to continue, especially while the public official is acting within their official capacity and executing the duties of their office. 

What this gentleman is going through is simply an exercise in raw power designed to intimidate.  Obviously the law needs to be changed and changed expeditiously.  But if that doesn’t happen – and it appears it won’t – his best chance is a jury trial.   Most people with any sense are going to reject the government’s case as overbearing, a violation of a citizen’s rights and just plain old un-American.  And as you can see in the video, any attempt to solicit information about the case from public officials was ignored.  That should tell you a lot about how confident they are about the case.

Bottom line: This is an example of the creeping fascism that is infecting our country.  This is “let me see your papers” territory.   And it needs to be firmly and swiftly nipped in the bud.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama touted solar technology company files for bankruptcy

But not before sucking down over half a billion dollars in federal loan guarantees that will now be exercised.

Solyndra was touted by the Obama administration as a prime example of how green technology could deliver jobs. The President visited the facility in May of last year and said  "it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that. "

The federal government offered $535 million in low cost loan guarantees from the Department of Energy. NBC Bay Area has contacted the White House asking for a statement.

This is what happens when government tries to pick winners and losers economically with absolutely no understanding of the market in which they intrude.  What this clearly points out, unless there was true malfeasance by the company, is there is no market, at this time, for what they were selling.  Either that, or they were truly incompetent.

This was a “if we build it they will buy” project that apparently either misrepresented the market or misunderstood it. Either way, it failed.   And the Feds were apparently no more informed about the market potential of the product than the company.  Result – over half a billion in loans guaranteed by the Federal government are now being called in.  The taxpayer, as usual, is on the hook to pay off the mistake the government made.

One of the constant themes here is the government is way outside its charter when it engages in activities like this.  It is an example of what those Tea Party lunatics mean when they talk about government intrusion and call for smaller government.  Note, it has nothing to do with welfare reform or any other of the usual nonsense their opponents try to tag them with.   It has to do with out-of-control government and out-of-control spending in areas where none of the founders ever even hinted at envisioning a Federal presence.

It’s a pity this has to be constantly pointed out to Tea Party critics bent on stereotyping members of that group as racists.  But as usual, reality provides the perfect context and example to counter their baseless charges.

This is not what our government should be involved in, period.  And certainly not with tax payers money, exclamation point!

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic releases for 1 Sep 11

Today’s economic stats releases show weakness in the economy remains, as the numbers are lackluster, overall.

Retail sales are reported by chain stores today, and they’re looking a bit weak. Some stores blamed Hurricane Irene for lower sales results than in July, though others point to a generally tough economic environment for shoppers.

Initial claims for unemployment fell to 409,000, but the the four-week average is worse at 410,250 which is up for the second week in a row and compares to 408,250 at the end of July. The Verizon strike caused a bit of a bump over the last two weeks, which is now smoothing out, so we’ll get a better idea of the trend in the next few weeks. Overall, though, the trend looks fairly flat, which is disappointing.

The revision to Productivity and Labor Costs indicate that productivity fell by -0.7% while unit labor costs rose 3.3% in the second quarter. The revisions show that the economy is still weak, and hiring is probably not an attractive option for firms.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index for the August 27 week slipped to -49.1 from the last report of -47.

The ISM Manufacturing Index declined very slightly to 50.6 from last month’s 50.9. A reading above 50 generally indicates an economic expansion, but a reading of less than 51 isn’t much of an expansion.

Construction Spending in July fell -1.3%, and is down -4.7% from last August. Last month’s spending, however, was revised sharply upwards from an increase of 0.2% to 1.6%. The overall trend is upwards, too, compared to monthly losses of –17% in 2009.

~
Dale Franks
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CNN: 65% disapprove of Obama’s handling of economic issues

The President gets low marks for his handling of the economy, sure to be the primary issue during the 2012 presidential election. The latest CNN Poll delivers the bad news:

But only 34 percent approve of how the president is handling economic issues, with 65 percent saying they disapprove of how he’s handling the economy. Thirty-three percent give him a thumbs up on the budget deficit and 37 percent approving of how he’s dealing with unemployment.

"Two-thirds of Democrats continue to approve of Obama’s economic record, but seven out of ten independents disapprove. Not surprisingly, more than nine out of ten Republicans also disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy,” adds Holland.

The important part of those numbers is found in the second paragraph where “seven out of ten independents disapprove”. As we all know, independents are where elections are won or lost. When you’re down 70% with that group on an issue as important and personal as the economy, you’re in trouble. Also note that only 66% of Democrats are happy with his record on the economy.

While Obama gets higher marks in other areas such as foreign affairs, few think such areas are going to be major factors in how people vote in the upcoming election. When it comes to his record for handling economic issues, the vast majority of the country finds his performance to be subpar.

So the week before a “major jobs speech”, the numbers are in and they’re not good. As I’ve mentioned any number of times, Obama has a problem for the first time in his elected life – he has to run on his record. And to this point his record has a number of "records" in it – record deficits, record debt, record unemployment and now, record discontent.

Turning this around will be no easy feat. Especially before November of next year. So as he pivots yet again to focus on jobs (something he’s supposedly been focused on since the beginning of his presidency), he has some implacable opponents he can’t spin, namely numbers, facts and statistics. And those numbers, facts and statistics translate into the poll numbers like those above.

Finally, despite all his efforts to do so, it appears that his days of being able to blame shift his “inherited” problems to Bush are over. These poll numbers say that the majority of Americans have rejected that and are not pleased with his performance, not Bush’s.

Must be tough to actually finally have to take responsibility for something when you’ve spent your entire life attempting to slip responsibility for anything that was negative.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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