April 24, 2017

General Electric Use of Investors’ Money to Fund Extremist Charities Under Scrutiny

Free Enterprise Project Seeks Support for Shareholder Proposal That Probes GE Donations to Clinton Foundation, Planned Parenthood and Center for American Progress

Why Should Shareholder Money Be Spent Funding Abortion Providers and Ethically Challenged Political Groups?

Asheville, NC / Washington, DC  The National Center for Public Policy Research, the nation’s leading proponent of free-market investor activism, is seeking support from General Electric’s investors for its resolution calling on the industrial giant to explain its rationale for donating shareholder money to controversial groups such as Planned Parenthood and the Clinton Foundation.  The proposal, submitted and sponsored by the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), highlights instances in which GE’s charitable contributions may be doing more harm than good by damaging the company’s reputation.

GE’s shareholder meeting will be being held on Wednesday, April 26 at the GE Aviation facility in Asheville, North Carolina.  This will be the ninth time a National Center representative has attended a GE shareholder meeting and the seventh corporate shareholder meeting that FEP has participated in so far in 2017.

“Why would GE donate to highly partisan organizations in this highly politicized environment?  And why would GE risk alienating conservative, free-market and pro-life investors and customers by donating to some of the most extreme liberal organizations in America?  Those are just some of the answers we are seeking with our proposal,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who is set to represent the FEP at the meeting.  “Pro-life investors shouldn’t have their shareholder money going to fund Planned Parenthood just as conservative investors shouldn’t be forced to subsidize the Center for American Progress or Planned Parenthood.  If GE makes an honest assessment of our proposal, the company will be forced to explain why it thinks the risk of alienating those investors is somehow outweighed by the benefit of its controversial donations.”

Out of concern that the company’s donations to the Clinton Foundation – which coincided closely with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s efforts to help secure a foreign contract for GE – may have subjected the company to liability for honest services fraud, the National Center previously sought an explanation from GE CEO Jeff Immelt regarding those contributions.  Immelt refused FEP’s request for transparency. That story waswidely covered in the national press, including numerous segments on the Fox News Channel.

The National Center’s proposal asks General Electric to “provide an annual report. . . disclosing: the company’s standards for choosing recipients of company assets in the form of charitable contributions; the business rationale and purpose for each of the charitable contributions, if any; personnel participating in the decision to contribute; the benefits to society at-large produced by company contributions; and a follow-up report confirming the contribution was used for the purpose stated.”

The full text of the National Center’s proposal, and GE’s response to it, are availablehere.  The National Center’s prepared statement in favor of the proposal is availablehere.  Comments from the FEP after the meeting will be available here within hours of the conclusion of the meeting.

The FEP brought similar shareholder proposals before shareholders at Apple earlier this year as well as Coca-Cola, John Deere and McDonalds in 2016.  It also raised corporate funding and affiliation issues with executives of Aetna, Honeywell, Pfizer and UPS in 2015 and 2016.  This is also not the first time the FEP has submitted a shareholder proposal to GE.  In 2014, in response to an FEP proposal, GE proactively changed its corporate policyto protect employees from workplace retribution for private political activities.  The FEP has been attending GE shareholder meetings since 2009.

Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group – focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Since 2014, National Center representatives have participated in nearly 100 shareholder meetings to advance free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues.  On April 26, while Danhof is at the General Electric meeting, National Center Vice President David W. Almasi will be participating in Coca-Cola’s shareholder meeting.

 The National Centers Free Enterprise Project activism has yielded a tremendous return on investment:

  • FEPs highly-publicized questioning of support for the Clinton Foundation by Boeing and General Electric helped trigger an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundations activities that dominated the 2016 presidential campaign.  
  • FEP inquiries prompted Facebook to address political bias against conservatives in social media.
  •  Company executives acknowledged media bias at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) in response to FEPs challenges, which helped to bring about more objective reporting and more balanced political representation.
  • FEPs Employee Conscience Protection Project strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations.
So far in 2017, the FEP has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Breitbart, WorldNetDaily, Drudge Report, Business Insider, CNET, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and SiriusXM. In 2016, the FEP was also featured in the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribuneamong many others.  The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassels 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.  Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations.  It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.  Sign up for email updates here.  Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements.  To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at@NCPPRMedia.

Maine Forest Rangers Want to Burn Ticks Out of the Woods

It appears that the Maine Forest Rangers are considering implementing controlled burns in order to mitigate the problems with ticks. There are many ticks and kinds of ticks and those ticks carry and/or perpetuate several diseases that are zoonotic – can be transferred from animal to human. The controlled burns, it is suggested, will kill many of the ticks. However, such action would not be an ongoing remedy.

I would suppose, as is most often the case, that while suggesting a prescribed burn to control ticks is something to consider, still missing, it seems, is any discussion as to why it has become necessary to do this. Are there more ticks than ever before? And if so, why? Are there less, more or the same number of ticks as ever but now they are laced with disease? If so, why?

Is it a planned event that the majority of the people population, at least in those regions susceptible to tick-borne diseases, are scared enough that they would be willing to do “anything” to mitigate the tick problem?

Odd, isn’t it? I wonder how many of the people who are scared to death of ticks and wouldn’t hesitate to set our forests on fire to kill the ticks, are the same ones who would give their own lives to save any animal that is perpetuating the tick problem?

Reading the comments from people that go along with this article, linked to above, it appears that prescribed burns, being a tool instituted by man to manage and manipulate the ecosystems, as well as mitigate public safety concerns, is an acceptable tool to use. I ask again, how many of these same people are willing to do “anything” to stop man from managing and manipulating ecosystems to save, protect, perpetuate flora and fauna because they believe “Nature” does it best. Last time I checked “Nature” was also in charge of ticks and the diseases they carry.

Are these people suggesting that Mother Nature works best when it’s convenient for them and not so much when it’s not?

RMEF Salutes Volunteers

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is proud to recognize and honor its conservation army of 11,000 volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

“We cannot express how grateful we are for good men and women who do so much for elk and elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They work tirelessly on their own time to raise funds to further our shared conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

Volunteers host fundraising banquets, membership drives and other events in more than 500 chapters from coast-to-coast. They also assist with youth seminars, camps and other activities that bolster the future of hunting and conservation. Additionally, they take part in on-the-ground projects such as fence pulls, noxious weed treatments, erecting wildlife water sources and other activities.

RMEF honored its volunteers at its 2017 National Convention in Nashville by collectively awarding them the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award. Presented only 22 times, it is awarded to those who have made a contribution of lasting significance to the benefit of RMEF’s conservation mission across North America.

“There’s absolutely no doubt about it. RMEF would not be where it is today without the dedicated and passionate effort of our volunteers,” added Allen.

The award itself will be on display at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana.

Go here for more information about RMEF volunteer opportunities.

Coca-Cola’s Human Rights Hypocrisy

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Coca-Cola’s Human Rights Hypocrisy: Why Does Soda Leader Criticize American Religious Freedom Laws While Doing Business in Nations Lacking Basic Civil Liberties?

All Coca-Cola Investors Urged to Vote for Free Enterprise Project’s Shareholder Proposal That Calls out Coke’s Human Rights Duplicity

Soft Drink Leader’s Allegiance with Fringe Anti-Religious Group Called into Question

Atlanta, GA / Washington, DC –  The National Center for Public Policy Research, the nation’s leading proponent of free-market investor activis, is calling on all Coca-Cola investors to approve its shareholder resolution that exposes Coca-Cola’s hypocritical treatment of civil liberties.  The proposal, submitted by the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), questions why the soft drink giant opposes religious liberty in the United States on alleged civil rights pretenses while simultaneously maintaining operations in numerous nations lacking those same rights.

Coca-Cola’s shareholder meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. This will be the sixth time a National Center representative has attended a Coca-Cola shareholder meeting, and the sixth corporate shareholder meeting that the FEP has participated in so far in 2017.

“Coca-Cola’s attacks on Americans of faith have gone under the radar for far too long,” said National Center Vice President David W. Almasi, who is set to represent the FEP at the meeting and has participated in past Coca-Cola shareholder meetings.  “Coca-Cola operates in countries where governments consider homosexuality a crime.  Yet they allied with a radical pressure group, Georgia Prospers, to stop the Peach State’s religious freedom bill they falsely claimed persecuted homosexuals.  It’s inconsistent, and their error in judgement here is compounded by apparent silence abroad. We are simply asking Coca-Cola to justify their actions.” 

The National Center’s proposal “requests the board of directors review the company’s guidelines for selecting countries/regions for its operations and issue a report. . .  [to] identify Coca-Cola’s criteria for investing in, operating in and withdrawing from high-risk regions.” It is the only proposal for consideration by shareholders not being offered by Coca-Cola itself.

The full text of the National Center’s proposal, and Coca-Cola’s response to it, are available on page 81 of the company’s proxy statement, which is available for downloadhere.  The text of its prepared statement in favor of the proposal can be found here.  Comments from the FEP after the meeting will be also be available on the site herewithin hours of the conclusion of the meeting.

The National Center’s FEP brought similar shareholder proposals before shareholders atApple, Eli Lilly, General Electric and Wal-Mart in 2016.  It also raised religious freedom issues with executives of Home Depot, Nike, PepsiCo and Red Hat. This is also not the first time the FEP promoted a shareholder proposal at a Coca-Cola meeting.  In 2016, the FEP asked Coca-Cola shareholders to consider a proposal for the company to issue a congruency analysis to point out and justify potentially questionable affiliations and contributions on the part of the company.  The FEP has been attending Coca-Cola shareholder meetings since 2012.

“By opposing Georgia’s religious freedom legislation, Coca-Cola opposed the kind of protections inherent in our nation’s founding principles and later advocated by the likes of Ted Kennedy.  Yet the company does business in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and other places where homosexuality is discriminated against to the extent it is punishable by death,” added Almasi.  “This disconnect in policy cannot be overlooked.  The Free Enterprise Project, as an advocate for the company’s shareholders, is asking company executives to justify their decisions.”

 “If Coca-Cola wants to go after religious Americans, it’s no longer going to do so with impunity,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq.  “Either the company is opposed to religious freedom everywhere or it only opposes religious freedom here in the United States as a means to score political points with the anti-religious left. If the company were to honestly answer our proposal, all Coca-Cola investors would know if the company was truly anti-religious or simply hypocritical for political reasons.  Those are the only two potential explanations for the company’s actions.”

Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group – focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Since 2014, National Center representatives have participated in nearly 100 shareholder meetings to advance free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. The Coca-Cola meeting marks FEP’s sixth shareholder meeting attended so far in 2017.   On April 26, while Almasi is at the Coca-Cola meeting, Danhof will be participating in General Electric’s shareholder meeting.

The National Centers Free Enterprise Project activism has yielded a tremendous return on investment:
  • FEPs highly-publicized questioning of support for the Clinton Foundation by Boeing and General Electric helped trigger an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundations activities that dominated the 2016 presidential campaign.  
  • FEP inquiries prompted Facebook to address political bias against conservatives in social media.
  •  Company executives acknowledged media bias at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) in response to FEPs challenges, which helped to bring about more objective reporting and more balanced political representation.
  • FEPs Employee Conscience Protection Project strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations.
So far in 2017, the FEP has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Breitbart, WorldNetDaily, Drudge Report, Business Insider, CNET, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and SiriusXM. In 2016, the FEP was also featured in the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribuneamong many others.  The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassels 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.  Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations.  It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.  Sign up for email updates here.  Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements.  To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at@NCPPRMedia.

Collaring Wild Animals: Scientific Research or Playing With Technology?

The manufacture, sale and use of radio telemetry collars for animal research is a racket and perhaps a serious waste of dollars. Depending upon the model of telemetry collar selected for each use, the cost of one such collar can run into the thousands of dollars. One must ask then if the cost of the collars is worth the return on investment? Well, that depends.

What we do know is that using tracking collars for wildlife is big business and a very popular thing to do. The tax payers like it because of their perverse love, adoration and all out worship of any kind of animal…well, until such animals become a real threat to them. The average tax payer doesn’t know how the collar is used and seldom is any “scientific research” information/data shared with the public. When it is, a trained eye recognizes very little scientific process and whole lot of speculation and theory swapping.

When it is a most difficult task to receive information from state fish and wildlife agencies about their “ongoing studies,” some of us are left to only guess what it is they are using collars on animals for and what actual data is being collected. So, let’s take a look at what is, might and could be done with a tracking collar.

What got me thinking about this popular event of tracking animals with radio telemetry, was an exchange of emails among a handful of wildlife scientists about this very subject. The foundation of discussion was centered around an article written about a collared wolf in British Columbia, Canada that was tracked along a route covering over 300 miles (not unusual). The journey for the wolf came to an end when it was legally shot and killed by a hunter. Of course this prompted outrage from the above described group of perverse, adoring wolf worshipers. But that’s not the topic of this immediate discussion.

In the email exchange, questions arose about what, if any, data and information was being collected on this wolf other than to know where the male wolf was at any point in time when a “data point” was sent (telemetry) and recorded on a computer. One scientist commented: “Reading the story makes me suspect that the wolves are collared and then left alone, while “researchers” are watching wiggly lines on the computer screen – and start guessing what is going on.”

Which brings us back to one of my original comments that because of the stinginess of researchers to share information, minus their speculations, the rest of us are left to guess (our own speculation) as to just what it is they are doing or not doing.

It seems about the only place we can get any information about studies is through the “Echo Chambers” of the Press. The vast majority of news media personnel are nothing more than “copy and paste” writers who wouldn’t understand what a true scientific process was if it was spelled out for them. As such, what is reverberated in the echo chambers is the Environmentalist’s nonsense, most often including speculation and theorizing about each collared animal based on placing human values on the animals – i.e. a guess as to what animals might be thinking, doing, etc. based more than likely on human projection of human values.

The State of Maine claims to be in the middle of a moose study. I have written extensively on this project and moose management in general. You can search this website, mostly under the Maine Hunting column.

What has been doled out to the public, which we have no idea if this is an actual reflection of the study, is that biologists placed collars on a hundred or so calf moose and some cows. It has been passed on that the purpose of the “study” is to find out the effects of winter ticks (moose ticks – Dermacentor albipictus) on moose mortality. All that we have been told is that when one of the collars stops moving, the collar sends a signal notifying researchers of the non movement. Somebody will go find the stationary collar (as quickly as possible – wink, wink) and attempt to determine what killed the moose.

This is one function that we are allowed to know about, evidently. But what kind of science is this? Or is it any kind of scientific research that will provide data and observation in order to find out more useful information in order to create better management plans? Who knows. It would seem that if any fish and game department was going to go through the expense and time to trap and collar moose, a full spectrum of scientific observation, collection of data, and analysis would be implemented into the effort. Is it? Who knows.

If the only thing these researchers are doing is sitting in front of a computer screen, in their comfortable offices, “watching wiggly lines” so somebody can go to the site where they think a moose died in hopes of determining cause of death, what is the real value of placing the collars on the moose?

It appears the collars work pretty good for “tracking.” Watching wiggly lines on a computer screen can tell biologists where a moose has gone over any prescribed length of time. They receive a signal when a collar becomes motionless for a period of time. Suggesting the collared animal might be dead, researchers journey into the woods to see what they can find…we are told.

Then what?

How well trained are the biologists in determining cause of death? So, they get to the scene and see a dead moose. It’s covered with winter ticks. The moose looks emaciated and missing hair/fur. No cuts, scratches, etc. are noticed on the moose and is it assumed that the moose died from the effects of the winter ticks? Other than tracking this moose on a computer screen, did researchers enter the woods on a regular basis in order to know, not speculate, what this dead moose had been up to over the weeks and months prior to it’s death? Where was the moose when it died, and in relation to where it normally “hung out?” How is this fact relevant to making a determination of its cause of death? Did the moose actually die of exhaustion, due to a combination of a low blood supply from the ticks, poor nutrition (it is winter you know) and being harassed by predators, including harassment by humans – both scientists and the general public? If it appears the moose was partially eaten, are the biologists adequately trained in making determinations of the kill tactics of predator suspects? How many of such kills has each scientist seen and been a part of? Are they trained to know when the dead animal became a meal for scavengers or when it became a meal by the kill of a predator?

What other data is collected on this moose? Is a full necropsy (animal autopsy) done, along with checking for all diseases and health issues? Moose calves are probably too young to have contracted what Maine biologists like to call “lung worm,” also known as Hydatid cysts caused by the existence of Echinococcus granulosus parasites carried and spread by wild canines (coyotes, foxes, raccoons). It has been shown that this disease exists in moose in the state of Maine. An infected moose, having cysts in the lungs, heart or liver, can seriously hamper a moose’s ability to escape danger from predators. Is this aspect of a moose’s death even considered, or is it just passed off as death by winter ticks? It is important to know the differences if ever there was hope to do anything about the problem.

Tracking a moose, or any other animal, with a radio telemetry collar can tell biologists where a moose is at pretty much any given point in time. One could argue that is science, but if you call that science it isn’t very good science.

Another scientist in our email discussion referred to this action this way: “…just data points that merely define where they [collared animals] are at a given time. What they are doing, which really matters, is left to interpretation, [and] conjecture. Until an effort is made to “follow” as closely as possible the movements of radio-collared animals, we can expect more “Research Lite.”

It is not a simple task to net a moose and snap a collar around it’s neck, wait to see if it’s going to die and then go find it to see if you can tell what killed it. However, is that effort alone worth the time and expense? Before this “study” began, I really don’t think it took a highly educated wildlife biologist to figure out winter ticks were knocking the hell out of the state’s moose herd.

What other information is being gathered and will any of the rest of us get to see it and not be relegated to the end of the line waiting for another copy and paste edition of our favorite echo chamber? I’m guessing the latter.

Who knows!

Open Thread – 24th Day, 4th Month, 2017

What Is This and What Would You Do With It?

Please use this open thread to post your ideas, information and comments about issues not covered in articles published on this website. Thank you.

Maine Cuts Moose Hunting Permits by “Just” 3%

Opportunity! That’s the adjunct word that is readily used today in describing hunting, fishing, and trapping. Once everyone is brainwashed into accepting the word “opportunity” as a privilege granted by the state, what else is left?

Why should I, or anyone, get riled up over a measly little 3% reduction in “opportunity” to hunt moose? Maybe I shouldn’t but that’s not the whole and truthful story in the matter.

According to what the Portland Press Herald just reported,  in 2013 the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) issued 4,085 moose hunting permits. Those permits are handed out through a lottery process. Just announced by MDIFW is that this year’s permit allocation will stand at just 2,080. However, let’s make sure that Maine sportsmen understand that there is still “opportunity.” We can’t fault MDIFW’s management plans and execution of those plans because, well, we still have “opportunity.” That’s how many sportsmen see things. As I said, “opportunity” is the word.

If MDIFW keeps cutting permits, the moose numbers may recover to where 4,000 or more permits are allotted. By then the tick problem will resurface and MDIFW can find some Federal funds and/or grant money and conduct another study on the affects of winter ticks on moose, all the while never bothering to study the tick itself. It’s easier just to take what the environmentalists have perpetuated that global warming causes ticks. Science and common sense are no longer a part of the equations. Always be ruled by the demands of the social groups.

There is, however, hope…well, not really. I just like to say that, I suppose in the same fashion that fish and game departments love to promote “opportunity.”

Okay! So, we are supposed to cut the managers some slack because they are still in the middle of a moose study. Probably ten years from now, we will still be saying Maine is in the middle of a moose study. Or maybe the sharing of the results and data of this moose study will happen as efficiently as when we get harvest reports for deer, bear and moose…never? We had to find out through the grapevine that MDIFW was conducting a deer study with the major land owners of northern Maine. Evidently this study is about how protecting deer yards is having no effect on the deer. Let’s go discuss it in the coffee shop. That has always worked.

We know winter ticks are being blamed for fewer moose which results in fewer hunting permits (opportunist). I don’t have a problem with that….well, mostly not. Of course increased winter ticks has always been blamed on global warming, even though Maine’s head moose biologist says, “With moose the hypothesis that is being talked about has to do with climate, but it’s complicated. It seems spring and fall affect the winter ticks, that and high moose densities.”

Notice he did call it a hypothesis. It appears this hypothesis, like all other hypotheses, still provides the escape to blame all things on climate change. Winter ticks have been around the world since the beginning of time. Who did the first moose biologists blame the ticks on?

I refuse to even hint that Kantar is suggesting anything will ever be done about “high moose densities” unless it is done by Nature the way it has in the past 3 years. There are too many moose, causing too many ticks and those ticks are killing off the moose. The reports are that this year’s winter tick mortality has been considerably less than the previous 3. What has happened to the moose population during this time? Who knows. They won’t tell us. Is a reduction in moose population directly proportional to the reduction in ticks. Nah, it’s the drought and the cold winter. Don’t you know?

Aside from all this, the state wouldn’t dream of reducing moose populations to mitigate ticks and other diseases, including public safety and private property issues, because they fear the lobby of the environmentalists and those looking to make a buck gawking at moose. I don’t blame those looking to make a buck…but at what expense.

But, never fear. Maine sportsmen will always have their “opportunities.” Opportunities may not exist for all or even most. If you’ve got the money, you can increase your chances, even while the chances continue to dwindle. If there remain but one lone moose permit, deer permit, bear permit, etc. Mainers couldn’t complain because MDIFW has protected their opportunities.

If LD 11, a constitutional amendment said to protect hunting, fishing and trapping in Maine, were to pass, how easy it will become to protect opportunity.

Fabulous!

Open Thread – 22nd Day, 4th Month, 2017

What’s In Your Wallet?

Please use this open thread to post your ideas, information and comments about issues not covered in articles published on this website. Thank you.

SAM’s Testimony on Right To Hunt Amendment, Makes Claims Not Entirely True

Recently I wrote about a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that is being presented as an amendment to protect the “right” to hunt, trap and fish – LD 11. I also wrote that this proposal was one that I could support and I was wrong to have made the statement using the words that I did because I failed to succinctly express the full truth in my statement. Please let me explain.

Yesterday, I was reading David Trahan’s (Executive Director of the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine) testimony before the Legislative Committee in support of the proposed amendment.

To many, his words ring true, much because most of us have been taught certain things about our federal and state constitutions and the rights we have been granted under those constitution. Men don’t grant rights to anyone. They simply claim ownership of them and hand them back to us in some kind of limited form or fully deny us of such rights.

Trahan states that when this nation was founded, wildlife was “placed in the public trust” and as such we had the right to take it for sustenance. Therefore, Americans have always possessed the right to hunt, fish and trap. I will have to save for another day any debate on this so-called public trust and our inherent right to hunt, fish and trap. I will proceed from the perspective of most that they do have either a right or a privilege.

As Mr. Trahan also pointed out, man decided that in order to sustain game and other wildlife, they must construct laws to limit that activity. What happened to our inherent “right” to hunt, trap and fish when the limitations by law became enforced? Is anything really a “right” when it is controlled by man? We evidently believe so. When men, because they couldn’t maintain viable game populations through their own disciplines, called upon man-governments to do it for them, it began the process of destroying any semblance of a right to hunt. I ask once again, what happened to a so-called “right” to hunt wildlife “placed in the public trust” when at least some of that right was ceded over to government and restricted?

This is not that much different than the argument of sovereignty, in which most people do not understand sovereignty of an individual or a government agency. How are you a sovereign individual? Oh, you might say, “Nobody tells me what to do! I’m my own man!” But you are not. You might be a legend in your own mind, but you are not a sovereign individual. Once a man agrees to become part of a community, whether it is a small as a neighborhood or as large as a nation, they have agreed to relinquish that sovereignty and place it under the control of the government. Your act of relinquishment places decisions about your life into the hands of the controlling government agencies.

In Maine, at some point in time, the full right to hunt, trap and fish, was ceded to the State Government to control and make the decisions for us as to what, when and how we might harvest game. Trahan points this out in his testimony. In reality, the sportsmen have very little control over their perceived right to hunt. What has evolved since the creation of game and wildlife laws, is that the government agency formulated to oversee hunting, trapping and fishing, call the shots. Yup, proposals for new laws can be presented. Sometimes they get through a committee and most times not. You are heard before a committee but if you can’t get by the committee then what has become of your “right” to hunt, trap and fish. If you do get through committee you are at the mercy of the Legislature. Where then is your protected right?

Many believe that an amendment to the Constitution will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. They are wrong. I have written many times on this subject and stated that unless an amendment mandated or forced the government to do something, it is nothing more than words on a piece of paper.

The proposed LD 11 states, in reference to the right of the people of Maine to hunt, fish and trap, that this right: “may not be infringed.” (emboldening added) This is not a mandate. It does not force the Legislature, the Governor, Law Enforcement, or anybody else to stop any infringement of a person’s right to hunt, trap and fish. Go ask a lawyer – or at least an intelligent and honest one (yeah I know). Or go research it yourself. “May” is not a mandate – only a suggestion.

Further, the amendment says that this non infringement of the right to hunt, trap and fish is subject to “reasonable” laws enacted by the Legislature and “reasonable” rules adopted by the department in charge of management of game, fish and other wildlife. Is a “reasonable” law or rule an infringement? We’ve already established that the protection against infringement is non binding because the lawyers chose “may” instead of “must.”

So, who decides what “reasonable” means? I hope you are beginning to understand.

The amendment establishes that the department in reference is supposed to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “maintain natural resources in trust for public use” (emboldening added) and this evidently will “preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” Nothing here is a mandate that forces anybody to do anything. What is wildlife conservation? As it is in operation today, wildlife conservation becomes a matter of which social entity has the most dollars and the loudest mouth to force their idealistic perceptions and conceptions of wildlife conservation.

The Department, according to this amendment will “maintain” natural resources. Maintain them how and to what levels of population that will guarantee, protect or create the “right” to hunt, trap and fish? This, of course, is left up to the Department, which is what takes places now. There is no mandate. There is no protection of any right.

The amendment further states that “public hunting and fishing are the preferred means…” (emboldening added) Where is the mandate here that will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish? The Department might “prefer” to use hunting and fishing but what if they decide to import wolves to control populations of deer and moose? Where is the mandate? Where is the protection of any “right” to hunt, trap and fish? And would such a decision be “reasonable?”

The truth is, that while this is better language than previously proposed in other amendments, voters in Maine should not be misled to believe that this amendment, as written, will guarantee, protect or create for Maine citizens, the “right” to hunt, trap and fish.

And on the reverse of this, as I have already read in a few spreads of clap trap nonsense, such an amendment, as written will not destroy the process to petition the state. This should be obvious once you understand this proposal has nothing in it that is a mandate, forcing anybody to do anything.

When I said this amendment was something I could support, that statement was not accurate and I apologize for misleading people, if I did. First, I could not “support” such and amendment in the literal sense because I am not a legal resident of Maine and therefore could not vote for it if I wanted.

My thinking at the time was that while there still were no mandates in the proposal, perhaps the language was such that it might deter the onslaught of lawsuits and referendums that have been piled onto the Pine Tree State. It may, in fact, increase them. It is difficult to assess.

I will work harder to choose my words and the statements I make more carefully.

Earth Day Traditions

Everyone has their traditions for what to do on Earth Day – that fake celebration of causing the creation of many millionaires/billionaires who pushed for “environmental” causes using people as their pawns.

I have my Earth Day traditions as well. For a period of a few months leading up to Earth Day, I collect as much Styrofoam and plastic objects as I can. My favorite item to collect is an old plastic tarp, preferably partly shredded. On Earth Day, I build a large fire in my outdoor fire pit and burn my collection. It’s good for the soul. Shredded tarps burn exceptionally well and last a long time.

Do you have traditions, perhaps like the one depicted in the below photograph that shows the brilliance of your environmentalism?