Thursday, July 28, 2011
On August 22-23, you are cordially invited to get to know Reason Foundation
at two events in Bellevue :
On Monday, August 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Reason's Nick Gillespie
and Matt Welch will be discussing their new book The Declaration of
Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America.
Please join Reason for a no-host dinner at:
Azteca Mexican Restaurant
150 112th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Twenty-first-century American politics are tied to an 18th-century system
dominated by two political parties, whose ever more polarized rhetorical
positions mask a mutual interest in maintaining a stranglehold on power.
The Declaration of Independents is a manifesto on behalf of a system better
suited to a future structured by the libertarian principles of free minds
and free markets. To find out more about The Declaration of Independents,
visit http://reason.com/declaration2011 for reviews, commentary, media
appearances, and other details.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
This probably needs to be up dated but I don't have time now. It will have to wait.
In February 1915, 518 private jitneys in Seattle carried 49,000 passengers daily. (Jrn Law & Econ)
Opening the inner city transit market to private bus companies, jitneys, and ride sharing taxis regardless of whether they are corporations or mom and pop part-time businesses will provide other alternatives to the private car and help reduce consumption of fossil fuels resulting in cleaner air, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, slow the development of farm land, reduce city street congestion, save tax dollars and most importantly improve the lives of low income people while reducing the social problems associated with poverty.
Who Benefits from expanding transit services by opening the marketplace?
“The lack of personal mobility has economic, social and human costs, such as higher unemployment, reduced tax revenue, greater welfare and medical costs, and limited social potential.”
- “Almost half of those without an automobile are persons 65 years or older, and of these, 81% are women.”
- “...23% of full-time working mothers and almost 60% of part-time working mothers have non-traditional work hours. This reduces women’s ability to join carpools or find appropriately-scheduled transit options.”
- “...nearly 40% of central city African-American households were without access to an automobile, compared to fewer than one of out five white central city households.”
Source: Using Public Transportation to Reduce the Economic, Social, and Human Costs of personal Immobility National Academy Press
A Brief History: The transit industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the nation. In many cities it is almost impossible for you to own a transportation business because of the rules.
Private cars called jitneys whose owners offered to carry passengers for a fee in the 1900s were the first victims of laws that were passed to protect the streetcars when jitneys began to appear on the streets about 1915. By the mid 1920s most cities had outlawed jitneys to protect the streetcar businesses which were owned by the electric utility companies.
Streetcars had been in decline for a number of years then in 1935 Congress passed the Public Utilities Holding Act that required the streetcar companies to be sold off from the electric companies that owned them. This led to the collapse of the streetcar business. The Supreme Court upheld the 1935 Public Utilities Holding Act in a 1946 decision known as North American Company v Security Exchange Commission.
In 1964 Congress passed laws that spurred the development of government operated local transit agencies.
In the 1980s most of the public transit in England was turned over to private companies.
Helsinki, Finland: Fourteen private companies now operate much of the region’s bus service through competitive bidding. A 30% reduction in operating costs and a saving in subsidies has been achieved. Fares have been reduced by 12% and services expanded.
Stockholm, Sweden: In 1993 Stockholm began using private contractors to run their bus and rail system. Savings of nearly $150 million annually and reduced subsidies have been two improvements along with increased farebox revenue and more riders. Approximately 70% of the region’s bus service has been contracted out.
Copenhagen, Denmark: Similar results have been seen in Copenhagen where contracting out has been mandated by the Danish parliament.
Curitiba, Brazil: This transit system has been called one of the world’s best systems. With neighborhood circulators, intermediate services and express buses, all color coded, run by 16 private companies and overseen by a government agency this unsubsidized system is being copied by cities in other countries. With approximately 75% of the region’s 2.3 million daily commuters using the system, Curitiba sets an example of what can be done to build a modern effective service for a fraction of the cost when there is a willingness to innovate. Curitiba uses 25-30% less fuel then comparable cities which reduces air pollution giving Curitiba some of the cleanest air of any Brazilian city.
Drug Policy Reform in the States
Reason is hosting a half day event featuring drug policy experts debating the merits of drug policy reform and discussing the state-level impact of the war on drugs. This event will take place immediately before the State Policy Network Annual Meeting in Seattle, August 23 - 26, 2011.
August 23, 2011
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Bellevue
- Roger Goodman, State Representative, 45th District, Washington State Legislature
- Alison Holcomb, Campaign Director, New Approach Washington
- Dale Gieringer, Director, California NORML
- Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor, Reason magazine
- Nick Gillespie, Editor in chief, Reason.com and Reason.tv
- Matt Welch, Editor in chief, Reason magazine
- Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance (Invited)
Topics covered will include:
- What has the impact of drug prohibition been on the states?
- Who is working for drug reform at the state level and why?
- What is the status of drug reform initiatives in Washington state?
- How has the war on drugs impacted cities across the U.S.?
- How will the conflicts between state and federal drug laws be resolved?
- What impact would relaxing drug laws have on crime and society?
- What role can state think tanks play in the reform of drug laws?
To learn more about the SPN Annual Meeting, visit http://www.spn.org/
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Alternatives to Public Education
July 14, 2011
7:00PM to 9:00PM
Clark Public Utilities Community room; 1200 East Mill Plain Blvd, The Clark PUD Building !! Just east of I-5 at the Mill Plain exit (Across Ft. Vancouver Way from the old (now closed) public library, just north of Officers Row).
1200 Fort Vancouver Way
Please join us for an evening of discussion on alternatives and enhancements to public education. Listen to representatives from the Freedom Foundation, the Washington Homeschool Organization and Flex Homeschooling. After the prepared speakers there will be time for open discussion and questions.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
This year Washington Libertarians gathered at the Phoenix Inn in downtown Olympia for their annual convention on May 21st. The event kicked off in the morning with opening remarks from Larry Nicholas, Chair of the Convention Committee and David Wordinger, the party’s Vice-Chair.
Brandon Houskeeper, Policy Analyst & Director of WashingtonVotes.org, from the Washington Policy Center discussed this year’s legislative session and how we could expect things to turn out.
Following Mr. Houskeeper Diana Moore from Olympia’s Freedom Foundation addressed issues related to online education and election integrity and problems with the proposed National Popular Vote Amendment that is being promoted nationally.
Closing out the morning’s speaker was Dr. Jonathan Wright, of the Tahoma Clinic who spoke about a number of issues related to how medical problems are handled today and some of the lower cost, healthier alternatives that are readily available to us in today’s marketplace. Of particular interest to Libertarians should be HR 1364 the Free Speech about Science Act that would address the Food and Drug Administration’s censorship of information.
Larry Nicholas was elected as Chair and Michael Donahue as Vice Chair. Jim Culbertson was elected Treasurer, Miles Holden as Secretary. Elected as At large Representatives were Tom Spanos, Stan Lippman, Gene Hawkridge, Sarah Rittenhouse and Michael Wilson.
LPWA New & Views June/July 2011
Thank you Rachel and David
As we begin a new election cycle the LPWA has a number of issues to deal with, but before we forget we wish to extend a BIG THANK YOU! to Rachel Hawkridge who has stepped aside as Chair. Being Chair of the LPWA and working with the national committee takes a lot of time and effort and not to mention it can be very frustrating at times. As a long time activist Rachel has proved to be a benefit to the party. Whether it was collecting signatures for a campaign or attending a legislative session in Olympia she was in the front of the effort and she was a voice for staying true to the mission in her post on the Libertarian National Committee. Rachel is not going away and will continue to help with preparing the news letter for mailing.
To say that David Wordinger has been a big champion of our efforts would be an understatement. He has spoken at public events and been a voice for the movement in the Spokane area, most recently at a Tea Party event a few weeks ago. Anyone who has driven from Spokane to the western side of the state as often as Dave has in all kinds of weather and paying for it out of his own pocket to attend conventions and state committee meetings deserves some special praise from the rest of us.
Below is a speech Dave gave recently at the Tax Day Tea Party Rally in Spokane.
In a free market no person or company can force you to buy their products. If their product is unwanted or too expensive, it doesn’t get bought. In contrast, Government can force us to purchase high priced unwanted products; permits to work on your own house, licenses for jobs or to operate a business, bridges to nowhere, and Amtrak are a few examples. Unfortunately we do not live in a free market economy. If a company finds nobody is buying its products, it can buy a few legislators and have them pass laws mandating the use of their products, or legislating against competition. Some pollution controls, mandated use of biofuels, import quotas, and subsidies are examples. Politics is often described as a zero sum game since a gain by any individual or group necessitates a loss by another individual or group.
Whoever has the upper hand in government can impose their choices on others. Since government has granted itself a monopoly on the use of force, those in power can use the threat of imprisonment or even death to force others to act in the “correct” manner.
What if you developed a millimeter wave porno scanner you called a security device and nobody wanted it because it is expensive and ineffective at detecting threats? Well if you can get the director of Homeland Security to impose a requirement for them at airports you can make a lot of money. And so can the former director of Homeland Security if his company, Chernoff Group is paid to shill for Rapiscan, the manufacturer of the otherwise worthless product. Israel and other countries with an active terrorist threat don’t want it. It isn’t used in embassies around the world. Our military doesn’t use them to secure their bases. But Rapiscan and Chernoff were able to use the coercive power of government to force taxpayers to buy their product.
Gun control laws are another example of people misusing government force to control others. These laws are obviously unconstitutional both federally and here in the state of Washington. These constitutions do not grant rights, but affirm preexisting rights. Even without the Second Amendment, Article 1 Section 8 does not grant the federal government power to restrict ownership or use of firearms or any other weapon. This lack of authority is emphasized by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
In 2003, while the Clinton gun ban was still in effect, a federal review of the nation’s gun control laws by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no evidence the laws reduce firearm crime. A year later the National Academy of Sciences issued a report showing no link between gun control laws and
LPWA News & Views June/July 2011
gun violence, crime or accidents. You may not have heard about these studies. Since they reached the wrong conclusion they didn’t get much dissemination. I chose to mention these two because they were made by gun control advocates and were unable to justify restrictions on our constitutional rights. Other studies have actually shown increased crime with more gun control laws.
You might think the lack of any legal foundation or statistical evidence of any benefit might deter those wanting to restrict other peoples’ freedom. Exercising their property rights, they can prohibit firearms in their house or on their property, but that is not enough for them. Since they personally can’t impose their wishes on you, they go to government and try to have laws passed forcing you to comply with their wishes.
After every tragedy involving a firearm, politicians and bureaucrats propose more gun laws supposedly to deter people who do not obey laws.
We Libertarians have a better idea. If you don’t like guns, don’t buy one. Sigmund Freud said, "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Guidance for these immature individuals is provided by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle, who says, “If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.
Another issue is the war on drugs. The individuals in support of the drug war can’t directly control others, but they can get laws passed to use the power of government to try controlling them. I say try, because, like gun control laws, they don’t work. Like the criminals who use firearms to commit crimes, people who want to abuse drugs are doing so.
Marijuana or Cannabis is a natural herb with proven medicinal benefits. Yes, like many other things, it can be abused, but many people who have used cannabis recreationally have not become addicted and have voluntarily quit using it for one reason or another. Perhaps for some, the reason for quitting was being elected president of the United States.
Last month the National Institute of Cancer published information about the cancer fighting powers of cannabis. It’s been well known cannabis has the benefits of appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep, but now the government has finally admitted there is evidence cannabis kills tumor cells and protects nontransformed cells.
The anti-tumor properties of cannabinoids were documented at least as early as 1975. Our government is just now recognizing this while still proclaiming cannabis has “no accepted medical use.”
Why is a substance with the beneficial properties of cannabis illegal?
William Randolph Hearst owned millions of acres of forest which he used to make paper for his newspapers. The hemp industry was becoming a threat to the wood pulp industry and threatened to cost Hearst a lot of money. At this same time DuPont was developing new plastics that had to compete with hemp. Unable to compete in the free market, Hearst and DuPont went to the government and worked to get hemp outlawed. Like early gun control laws, there were also racial reasons for making cannabis illegal. Cannabis was being used by poor immigrants to relax after a hard day’s work in the fields. Xenophobes and bigots didn’t like seeing minorities using cannabis, so they used the coercive power of government to control other peoples’ lives.
In the last legislative session there were a couple laws to make life easier for users of medicinal cannabis. Some of our state congresscritters claimed to support medicinal use of marijuana but were concerned these bills would might allow others to use cannabis. Let me translate that from politician speak to common citizen talk. They don’t care if your mother is suffering terribly while wasting away from terminal cancer, it’s more important to keep you from smoking. Some people must lie awake at night worrying that someone somewhere may be enjoying something. I have a suggestion for those people. If you don’t like cannabis, don’t use it. If you see any cannabis:
LPWA News & Views June/July 2011
STOP! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.
I recognize drugs, including cannabis are not entirely benign, but if you are honest you must recognize drugs don’t cause as much harm as the government’s failed war on drugs. This is recognized by doctors like Dr. Ron Paul, by law enforcement like Sheriff Richard Mack and the members Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and true conservatives wanting smaller less intrusive government like William F. Buckley. Some people say we must enforce laws against drug use because that is the law. Yet they have a different opinion on gun control laws. How many of these people were calling for the prosecution of Bernhard Goetz when Mr. Goetz used an illegal handgun to defend his life on a New York subway?
In 1949, Ludwig von Mises wrote, “Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous, habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government's benevolent providence to the protection of the individual's body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies, surely, is much more pernicious, both for the individual and for the whole society, than that done by narcotic drugs.”
Some of you may have noticed I support my Second Amendment rights and after this talk may suspect I use some form of illegal drugs. No, I have never used cannabis, opium, LSD, or any other illegal drug. But the shirt I’m wearing is made of hemp. The shirt is imported since this is another industry our government has chased offshore.
I am not advocating anyone engage in any self destructive activity. I’m only asking that you do not use the coercive power of government to force others to abide by your standards. Tolerance of actions that hurt no one else does not mean you accept or condone those actions. But recognize people cannot make the right choice if they are not allowed to make a choice. If you are not willing to grant choice and freedom to others, don’t be surprised when your actions are turned against you to limit your freedom.
I would like to close with a quote by Chief Joseph. “Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself--and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.”
Authored by David Wordinger 2011