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Principles by which the candidate would operate, and plans he would seek to implement, if elected

I Don’t Want To Be Attorney General!

I don’t actually want the job of California Attorney General.  I already have a law practice, and giving that up to take the job of AG would mean a lot of disruption in my personal and professional life.  I’m not retired and need to work to support my family.  But I would accept the job if elected, am capable of performing it, and would do my best to perform it in accordance with the principles on which I ran.

So then why am I running?  Not because I expect to win; nobody running on the Libertarian ticket has ever won statewide office in California.  There are no special interests lining up to fund my campaign.  No wealthy donors who have asked me to run.  I don’t have enough spare cash to fund a bare bones campaign or even pay the filing fee.  I’ll be lucky to raise enough money to just pay the fee, and getting past the primary is a long shot at best.  And people who know me say I’m too honest and outspoken to be a politician.

So why run?  Because there are a growing number of libertarians in California.  The Libertarian Party is growing while the mainline parties are stagnant or shrinking.  This is but a small indication of the increasing numbers of people, some of whom still vote, who understand that “freedom’s the answer” no matter what is the question.  I’m running to give an opportunity to these people to ROAR, just by registering their preference for liberty on a ballot.  I want to give voters, especially young voters, another opportunity to be exposed to libertarian ideas, for the first time or for another time.  I’m running to learn and foster greater activism for liberty, inside and outside of electoral politics.  Those are reasons enough.

Perhaps you’re one of these new libertarians.  Perhaps you understand that the non-aggression principle is both a sound moral precept and a basis for a more prosperous and just society.  That the tools of the modern state, such as high taxes, fiat money, central control, and forced redistribution of wealth, are justified by promises of security and equality, but deliver only greater poverty and inequality.  That we have no right to interfere in the lifestyle or choices of our neighbors, even when their choices seem self-destructive, immoral, strange, or distasteful, so long as no victim is harmed.  That it is a crime to fine or imprison someone for growing, possessing, or freely selling any food, service, plant, or medicine, in accordance with the natural right to control one’s own body and trade freely with others.  That it is a crime to fine or imprison someone for keeping or bearing any firearm or other defensive weapon, in accordance with the natural right of self-defense.  That the institution of the territorial sovereign power, once believed necessary for the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, now threatens to become, or has already become, the greatest transgressor of our natural and inalienable rights.

THAT is reason enough to run.

Posted in 2014 Platform, News & Views

Libertarian Counterpoint May 15, 2014: Six Issues

Libertarian Counterpoint

I appeared on “Libertarian Counterpoint” on May 15, 2014, with hosts Richard Field and Amy Lee, and one of my Republican opponents Ron Gold. Libertarian Counterpoint is broadcast on Comcast Sacramento channel 17, which is streamed online here. A link to an archived version of the show will be posted here once the archive is available.

During the show, the hosts posted a series of questions to the two candidates. The questions and my positions on the issues raised are provided below. This is not a transcript of the show. My answers here may be somewhat different from what I said on the show, but my positions are substantially the same.  In some cases I have provided additional comments after further consideration.

1. Do you support law enforcement use of drones? Commercial use of drones?

I support both commercial and law enforcement use of drones subject to essentially the same limits. Law enforcement officers should not have a greater license to use drones than non-officers. Limits on drone use should include protection of natural rights such as the right to privacy, right to quiet enjoyment of one’s own property, and freedom from trespass and assault. If elected, I would seek to develop guidelines and laws to protect drone use subject such limitations. I would like to help California become a world leader in the beneficial and ethical use of drone technology and other promising new technologies for improving the quality of our lives.

2. Should libertarians support the Libertarian Party or should they try to take over the Republican and/or Democratic Party . . . or all three?

All three.  And more.  Libertarians should do whatever they can to move culture, society, and politics in a libertarian direction.  Inside of electoral politics, and outside of it.  For me, being active in the Libertarian Party is fun and energizing.  But I don’t limit myself to that, nor should anyone else.  Although I would like the Libertarian Party to be more effective, and we sure could use more support, I don’t want to discourage all the great work being done by people working outside of the party, too.

3.  Do you support jury nullification, allowing juries to rule on the law as well as the facts in a case?

Yes, absolutely.   Judges and prosecutors often don’t like it.  But jury nullification is an indispensable part of the common law justice system, on which our legal system is based.  It is a crucial safeguard against prosecutorial abuse and tyranny.  Restoring jury nullification in California is one of my highest priorities for this campaign.

4.  Would you support California State Lands attempt to grab beach land at Lake Tahoe and the exorbitant fees and regulatory overkill for buoys and docks?

No.  I support public access to public lands, including beaches, and would defend existing easements that enable public access to public beach areas.  However, private property owners should not be coerced into providing easements where none currently exist and none are required by law.  Private charities, cooperatives, and foundations should be encouraged to acquire such easements at fair market value or acquire easement bequests by non-coercive persuasion.  I support allowing tax deductions for the fair market value of granting access easements to public lands.  Where structures such as docks and piers involve private use of public lands, fees and regulations may be imposed.  Such fees and regulations should be reasonable, in my opinion, but such fees and regulations are generally beyond the reach of the Attorney General if legally imposed.

5. Debbie and Chico Jimenez of Daytona Beach have been fined $2238 and threatened with jail for feeding the homeless.  Should that happen in California?

Absolutely not.  Providing gifts of food to the poor is a basic human right of both the giver and receiver.  It’s part of the First Amendment right of free association, among other things.   I elected, I will defend the right of charities and ordinary citizens to serve the poor against efforts by municipalities to drive homeless or disadvantaged people into neighboring areas.

6. Do you support open and/or concealed carry of firearms?

I support both, so long as safe and responsible.  However, the reality is that California prohibits open carry, and the vast majority of people here do not understand or believe it to be beneficial.  Therefore I would focus my efforts at supporting the granting of concealed carry permits on a reasonable “shall issue” basis, consistent with the recent Ninth Circuit decision in Peruta v. San Diego.  This contrasts with the current Attorney General, who is seeking to overturn the decision in that case.

 

Posted in 2014 Platform, News & Views

Let’s Protect Women’s Right To Privacy in Childbirth

Stand By Midwives
If you are dubious about freedom, can we at least agree that everybody has a natural (God-given if you prefer) right to control what is done to his or her own body?  A free society cannot possibly exist without this basic right, which is recognized by the 4th and 10th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution, to name but a few.  Despite this, the State of California is perfectly willing to ignore self-sovereignty when it comes to a woman’s right to choose the place, manner, and persons present when she gives birth.

Ongoing cases in point can be found here.  Consider also the case of Katie McCall, a midwife who was prosecuted by the State of California for doing what was right, rather than what the State dictates, telling her story here.­  Such cases have a tremendous chilling effect on the provision of midwifing services in California.  State prosecution for technical violations of midwife licensing laws must stop.  Immediately.  Besides working a great injustice on the midwives who have done no harm, prosecuting midwives for technical license violations lowers the supply of midwives and raises medical costs.  For more information about natural child birth and state prosecution of midwives, see my blog post here, references and awareness kindly provided by another.

A woman has an absolute right to make an informed decision where, how and with whom to give birth.  Whether the birthing mother freely chooses a licensed midwife, an unlicensed midwife, no midwife, or an ob/gyn doctor, the choice must be hers, and hers alone.  We need not fear chaos in the free market for birthing services: if we cannot trust mothers to make the birth decisions that are best for them and their babies, who can we trust?  Certainly not bureaucrats hired by politicians.

Nothing raises my ire like unwarranted prosecution of competent, caring midwives willing to assist mothers in the difficult and sacred process of child birth.  Birthing service providers have an obligation to be honest regarding their training and experience when being considered for hire, and to perform according to the standard of care that they have contracted to provide.  That’s just about it.  Any claims against midwifes or other birth service providers must be initiated by the mothers they serve, not by State licensing bureaucrats.

If elected as California Attorney General, I’ll stop all prosecution of home birth midwives under my control for mere licensing violations, without delay — whatever the political or legal consequences to myself.  That’s my solemn promise to all mothers, soon-to-be mothers, and midwives in California.  It’s the least I could do for the life you bring into the world.

Posted in News & Views, Protecting Freedom

On Sagebrush Rebellions and State Sovereignty

BundyRanch-protest2

The longstanding conflict between Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently erupted into the news, as the BLM enforces a Federal court order ordering the removal of Bundy’s cattle from his ancestral grazing lands, over which the BLM claims management authority.  I have not tried to analyze all the legal issues at play here, but the heart of the matter is apparently a conflict between the Federal Endangered Species Act and Bundy’s private property rights.  In short, Federal power against private property.

Most modern State Attorneys General would not deign to involve themselves in a conflict between Federal power and private property, especially if the Federal actors are acting under the authority of a Federal court order.  I see the proper role of a State Attorney General differently.

In the U.S. constitutional system, there is no effective check against expansion of Federal power except for State power and the power of the masses to ignore Federal edicts — as explicitly reserved by  the Tenth amendment.  Under natural law, private property rights arise out of local activities, and one of the key justifications for State power is to support institutions for orderly recording, protection, and disposition of real property rights within its borders.  Any Federal property claims that are not enforced through the State’s own courts are by definition foreign and antagonistic to State sovereignty.  Therefore, as the top law officer of the State, the Attorney General is obligated to check and balance any independent assertion of property rights within its borders, whether by the Federal government or any other foreign sovereign power.

That does not necessarily mean that the Attorney General should order officers to intervene in Federal enforcement actions, guns blazing.  I do not advocate for civil war.  But neither does it mean that the Attorney General should roll over and allow Federal agencies to enforce their own property claims within the State without any check or balance provided by State power.

Enforcement actions such as the BLM’s highly public thieving and wasting of Bundy’s cattle are both unseemly and unnecessary.  Such naked displays of aggression undermine public confidence in State sovereignty and property laws, besides inflaming public anger and feeding contempt for governments generally.  It is in the interests of both the general public and government at all levels to prevent such incidents from occurring.

State intervention against Federal trespass of State-based property rights should begin in the courtroom, extend through the public police agencies, and absent the direst of circumstances, should never involve violent confrontations between groups of State and Federal officials.  For example, the State should seek to intervene on the side of property holders in selected cases enforcing Federal power against property interests of State residents, train State officers regarding proper and effective means for protecting private property rights within the State against Federal claims, deprive Federal agencies who seek to take property without State authority of the benefit of using any State resources in support of their enforcement actions, and promote public understanding and support for private property rights based in natural law.  If elected, I would seek to allocate a reasonable portion of the resources at my disposal towards fulfilling these and similar objectives.

Posted in News & Views, Preventing Wrongful Aggression

When Oppression Masquerades As Law And Order

Those who defend and enforce unjust laws are oppressors and criminals.  Most people can understand that.  Why then do so many in law enforcement take the position that every law, no matter how stupid or oppressive, must be enforced?  One of my Republican primary opponents, David King, recently affirmed that he would enforce and defend laws that criminalize drugs, whether or not he thinks they are a good idea:

DavidKing

I disagree with David King on this issue.  Each person’s right to control her own food, medical treatment, and personal possessions is a fundamental human right.  The exercise of fundamental human rights is not a matter of social policy for legislators to criminalize.   Officers who enforce criminal laws against mere use or possession of a substance — whether it be cannabis or some other substance — are themselves committing immoral acts of aggression against the alleged drug “criminal.”

As Attorney General, I will refuse to enforce anti-drug laws against peaceful users and traders so long as no violence, threat of violence or fraud accompanies the use or sale of the thing in question.  I will not willingly order the officers under my supervision to commit immoral acts — even if by so doing I expose myself to threat of impeachment or lawsuit.

Above, King states that he would “defend and enforce” victimless crime laws “until a court directs otherwise.”  Not I.  If elected, I will exercise prosecutorial discretion and refuse to prosecute cases in which the only chargeable crime is possession or distribution of a substance or thing, whether that thing be a drug or a constitutionally protected weapon.  The Attorney General should defend the basic human right to right to control what you put into your own body – and to defend yourself by keeping and bearing arms responsibly.

In contrast, based on his position on substance criminalization, King would be willing to confiscate everyone’s weapons and put gun owners in jail, so long as the legislature passes the law.  If he would make an exception for guns, he is either unprincipled on the issue of whether the AG should refuse to prosecute immoral laws, or he does not believe that people have any fundamental human right to control what goes into their own bodies.  If he believes you have no right to control what goes into your own body, he would hold your body to be the property of the state.

So ask yourselves, “law and order” Republicans: does the law serve basic human rights, or is law enforcement free to violate human rights so long as supported by legislative process?  If the government can do whatever it wants “until a court directs otherwise,” who will protect you from the government?  If David King were Attorney General, certainly not him.

Protecting human rights does not mean being soft on true crime.  On the contrary, focusing police resources on actual dangerous criminals while allowing responsible sellers to operate makes things far tougher on the illegal cartels and unethical dealers.  Those who enforce prohibition on everyone facilitate profitable exploitation of the public by unethical dealers.

As Attorney General, I will enforce drug laws against violent cartels and dealers, those who sell drugs to children without parental consent, and those who intentionally push addictive and destructive drugs in a manner reasonably expected cause harmful addiction.  All of these activities are examples of criminal aggression against which defensive force is justified.

Posted in News & Views, Preventing Wrongful Aggression, Protecting Freedom

Let’s Restore Jury Nullification In California

The right and responsibility of a jury to judge both the facts and the law is a critical protection against government oppression that has been recognized in common-law countries for centuries.  Over 150 years ago, Lysander Spooner wrote of the importance of jury nullification, and warned of government efforts to restrict it, in his “Essay on Trial by Jury.”

Today, having been under assault in the United States for at least 150 years, jury nullification is almost forgotten by the general public.  Prosecutors don’t like it, because it reduces their ability to threaten defendants and coerce plea deals in marginal cases.  Judges don’t like it, because it reduces their power in the courtroom.  The police and prison industries don’t like it, because it reduces the number of criminals in their systems.  Jury nullification is not only helpful for preventing misuse of the law and unjust convictions, it also reduces taxpayer burdens and spurs healthy economic activity by preventing unnecessary imprisonments.

It’s far past time to end the hostility of the California justice system to jury nullification.  As chief law officer in the State, the Attorney General can have a tremendous impact on acceptance and use of jury nullification.  If elected, I would do everything in my power to ensure that every jury in California is instructed concerning its right and civic responsibility to judge not only the facts of the case, but the justice of the law applied.

 

Posted in News & Views, Preventing Wrongful Aggression, Protecting Freedom, Seeking Justice

AG’s Odious Motion To Intervene in Peruta v. County of San Diego

No_Weapons_Allowed

A few days ago, the incumbent AG moved to intervene in the case of Peruta v. County of San Diego. This was done only a few short days after the Ninth Circuit, guided by recent Supreme Court precedent in the Heller (2008) and MacDonald (2010), effectively granted Peruta’s motion for summary judgement in the District Court, holding that San Diego’s “good cause” permitting requirement infringed his Second Amendment right to bear arms in self defense.  The AG moved to intervene only after the County of San Diego announced that it would not take any action to overturn the ruling.

In a nutshell, two of the three justices on the panel held that because California does not allow open carry of firearms and restricts concealed carry to special circumstances at the discretion of the police, this infringes the individual’s right to bear arms in self-defense.   By so doing, the Court came to a common-sense result fully in accord with recent Supreme Court cases.  There was one dissenting justice.  Had the Ninth Circuit gone the other way, the case could have been appealed to the Supreme Court.  As the case fails squarely in the cracks between Heller and MacDonald, the Supreme Court would likely have taken the case and reversed the Ninth Circuit.

By intervening now and petitioning for a rehearing en banc, the AG is increasing the probability that a rehearing will be granted, by throwing the full weight of the State of California behind the petition.  A rehearing will only inject delay in ultimate resolution of the case, which given the continuing reign of Obama and state of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence, favors those who oppose 2nd Amendment rights.  By the time the case is ripe for hearing by the Supreme Court, perhaps another 2nd Amendment-friendly Justice will have been replaced by an Obama appointee hostile to the 2nd Amendment.  Heller and MacDonald might be ignored or overturned before this case reaches it, and Californians may never have the opportunity to learn first hand that the legal right to bear arms responsibly makes communities safer, not more dangerous.

It need hardly be pointed out that this action by the incumbent AG is extremely prejudicial and hostile to the individual right of self-defense.  It is not the action of a law officer sworn to uphold the California Constitution, which recognizes the right of self-defense explicitly.  If California needs any AG, if needs one that respects this right as well as other individual rights.  A Constitutional-compliant AG would not have intervened in Peruta.

Posted in News & Views, Protecting Freedom

Protecting The Right of Self-Defense

Among the natural and inalienable rights recognized by the California Constitution is the right of “defending life and liberty.”  While that document includes no express “right to keep and bear arms” in the manner proclaimed by the United States Constitution, the California Constitution does recognize, in Article 1, Section 24, that “this declaration of rights may not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.”

It is apparent that under natural law and consistent with the U.S. Constitution, the right to keep and bear weapons necessary for defense is an inseparable part of the right to defend life and liberty.  So long as violent predators have access to firearms, the peaceful citizens of this state cannot constitutionally be deprived of their only means of effective defense against an armed attacker, which is a firearm of at least equal effectiveness to that wielded by the attacker.

Over the years, the state legislature has passed many detailed regulations and restrictions on weapons owners and dealers.  As Attorney General, I would not charge any person with a mere possession, transactional or registration violation of weapons laws, except in cases where the weapon is actually being used to further a crime with an actual victim.  The scarce resources of the Attorney General must be preserved for prosecuting actual crimes, not politically expedient bans on possessing, trading, or transporting items reasonably necessary and useful for self-defense by otherwise peaceful and law-abiding citizens.

Posted in Protecting Freedom

Protect Digital Currency & Private Data

BitCoin and other forms of digital currency represent a new and growing industry with the potential to greatly benefit California residents.  It’s become so successful, that it is now under attack by special interests in international banking, who fear that it might someday threaten their present-day monopoly over the international monetary system.  As Attorney General, I would help Californians resist such attacks, to the best of my ability.

The Attorney General doesn’t work for international bankers, or even for politicians in Washington D.C.  The Attorney General works for the people of the State of California, under the California Constitution.  California has no interest in protecting the present-day monetary system.  On the contrary, the people of California have been greatly injured by this system over the years, as the productive capital of the region has been sucked out or exhausted by monetary forces outside of the people’s control.

California has an interest in facilitating the use of honest  measures and stable mediums of exchange by its people, building up environmentally sound productive capital in the region, and protecting the privacy of its citizens under the California Constitution.  This includes the right of citizens to maintain privacy regarding their monetary exchanges, such as afforded by BitCoin and related technology.  The Attorney General must be on the side of the people, and resist all government measures to institute capital controls and tracking of financial exchanges.  Such control measures are fundamentally incompatible with liberty and the right of privacy as recognized by the California Constitution, and can only lead to greater totalitarianism and political corruption.

As Attorney General, I would resist attacks on digital currency and the right of privacy by refusing to enforce any laws against victimless conduct, writing legislation to protect digital currency from regulation offensive to privacy rights and personal liberty, and refusing to cooperate with international or federal agents seeking to prosecute digital currency exchangers, miners, or users.

Posted in Protecting Freedom

Prosecute Environmental Crimes

As a large landowner and recipient of property taxes from all private land holders in the State, the State of California has legitimate interests in the protection of its property interests.  When those property interests come under assault by parties outside of the State through environmental pollution, it should act to protect its property interests.

One such large-scale environmental attack is currently going on, and the present Attorney General has shown too little interest in investigating the damage or mitigating its effects.  The meltdown, explosions and continuing releases of radioactive Strontium and Cesium from the Fukushima facility into the Pacific Ocean pose a very serious health and environmental risk to California property and residents.  Both Strontium 90 and Cesium 137, with half-lives of about 30 years, were released to the ocean in large quantities, and some release may be ongoing still.  These radioactive materials are arriving in California coastal waters by action of the Japanese current, and will accumulate here for many years to come.  Bioaccumulation of radioactive materials in marine animals and residents may cause illness and early death of marine flora and fauna as well as people, and possibly extinction or permanent genome damage of less mobile species.  Fukishima radiation undoubtedly poses a serious threat to California, yet is poorly understood and little investigated.  This apathy and state of denial must end.

As Attorney General, I would use all available means to rouse the United States federal government from its deliberate denial and inaction, filing suit under environmental or other laws if necessary.  I would also initiate proceedings against Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the national government of Japan in any appropriate forum, possibly including Japanese, U.S., or International courts, seeking information and injunctive relief from inadequate mitigation and remediation measures at the Fukishima site.  Longer term, I would seek appropriate recovery of damages, if possible, against Tepco and the national government of Japan for licensing and operating the Fukushima site without adequate safeguards, for covering up the full extent of radioactive releases, and inadequate remediation.

I would seek to form legal and investigative alliances with the states of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, the province of British Columbia, the Mexican coastal provinces from Baja California southward, and other interested stakeholders.  The purpose of these alliances would include pooling resources for environmental monitoring and remediation, and to apply legal and political pressure on national governments to put in place effective long-term solutions to radioactive pollution threats.  This may include taking legal action directed towards phasing out all nuclear reactors operating in California, if necessary.  I am not anti-nuclear power in general, but Fukushima has proven that current fission designs susceptible to meltdown in the event of coolant loss are not safe in the event of natural disasters or war.

In short, if elected, I would direct the resources of the Attorney General’s offices away from prosecuting victimless crimes and serving special interests, and towards mitigating what is potentially the gravest environmental threat this State has ever faced.

Posted in Seeking Justice

Uphold the California Constitution

The California Constitution is a great document, not without defects, but on the whole more protective of personal liberty than the United States Constitution.  It begins with the following declaration of rights:

“All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.”

Doing justice requires that laws be understood and enforced in a way that is consistent with this declaration of rights.  As Attorney General, I would keep this declaration of rights foremost in my thoughts, and perform my duties so as to prevent any intentional trespass of these inalienable rights.

This is what justice requires.

Posted in Seeking Justice