Archive for the ‘justice’ Category

Hiking Stupid

Posted: August 30, 2011 in constitution, justice

Two anti-American leftists learning to enjoy Iranian prison time.

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Hiking Stupid, posted with vodpod

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For generations, street vending has been a classic way to succeed with only a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed. It is a path that cities should encourage, particularly in these tough economic times. But rather than fostering entrepreneurship and opportunity, Atlanta is doing its best to smother it.

Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick own two well-known vending businesses outside the Atlanta Braves stadium. Their businesses create jobs, offer inexpensive snacks and souvenirs to visitors, and make the sidewalks safer by keeping an eye out for fans who need help. But two years ago, Atlanta handed over all public-property vending to a single company—the first program of its kind in the country. Now that company wants to throw Larry and Stanley out of the spots they have worked for decades to build kiosks that rent for almost $20,000 a year. If it does so, Larry and Stanley’s businesses will be destroyed.

Unfortunately, many American cities put up roadblocks that keep would-be vendors from climbing that ladder. In Streets of Dreams, the Institute for Justice reviewed vending laws in America’s 50 largest cities. It found that of those 50 cities, 45 have one or more anticompetitive restrictions on vending. Atlanta has some of the most onerous burdens in the country, and the monopoly Atlanta has created has cost vendors their jobs and threatens to kill vending as a way for ordinary Atlantans to succeed.

To protect the economic liberty of all Georgians, Larry and Stanley have joined with the Institute for Justice to challenge Atlanta’s vending monopoly. This lawsuit, filed on July 28, 2011 in the Superior Court for Fulton County, Georgia, is the second case in the Institute’s National Street Vending Initiative. It argues that Atlanta lacks the power to grant an exclusive vending franchise and that its actions violate the Georgia constitution. A victory will not only free Atlanta’s vending community; it will make other cities think twice before entering into similarly anti-competitive arrangements.

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Yeah, you know, that Ayn Rand was a nut, huh? That Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog rule doesn’t happen in real life. And government doesn’t partner with favored businesses in “trade associations” to destroy competition and innovation. All that Atlas Shrugged nonsense is, like, totally unrealistic.

Until 2010, sedan and independent limo services were an affordable alternative to taxicabs. A trip to the airport only cost $25. But in June 2010, the Metropolitan County Council passed a series of anti-competitive regulations requested by the Tennessee Livery Association-a trade group formed by expensive limousine companies. These regulations force sedan and independent limo companies to increase their fares to $45 minimum.

The regulations also prohibit limo and sedan companies from using leased vehicles, require them to dispatch only from their place of business, require them to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before picking up a customer and forbid them from parking or waiting for customers at hotels or bars. And, in January 2012, companies will have to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than seven years old for a sedan or SUV or more than ten years old for a limousine.

These regulations have nothing to do with public safety. Nashville could have limited its requirements to those regulations that are designed to genuinely protect the public’s health and safety, such as requiring insured and inspected vehicles, and driver background checks, but instead, Nashville is stooping to economic protectionism to put affordable car services out of business in favor of more expensive services that happen to have more political power. Many Nashville residents who regularly use limos and sedans will be forced to spend twice as much money for exactly the same service and hard-working sedan drivers will be driven out of business.

On April 20, 2011, the Institute for Justice teamed up with three Nashville entrepreneurs and filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to vindicate the right of Nashville’s limo and sedan operators to earn an honest living free from excessive government regulation.

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Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents with the help of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department raided the Zen Healing Collective and Alternative Herbal Health Services medical marijuana dispensaries in Hollywood, California on March 15, 2011.

The warrants served were federal and law enforcement took one individual into custody, which may result in arrest.

Agents did not want to speak on camera but spokesperson for the DEA Sarah Pullen gave this statement to Reason.tv:

“The DEA, with the assistance of the LAPD and the LASD served federal search warrants at approx. 210 pm this afternoon, March 15, 2011, as part of an on-going investigation. The warrants are federal and under seal by order of the court. Locations were 7800 and 8400 blocks of Santa Monica blvd, West Hollywood. We have one individual in custody right now, which may result in an arrest. Since the warrants are under seal I am unable to discuss any details regarding the warrants or investigation at this time.”

When asked about raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California in February 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated raids would end on state approved dispensaries.

“What the president said during the campaign … will be consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement … What (President Obama) said during the campaign … is now American policy,” said Holder.

Obama told the Medford Mail Tribune in Oregon during the 2008 campaign “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”

“I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.”

On March 10, Los Angeles voters passed Measure M, or the “pot tax,” which will tax dispensaries by collecting $50 out of every thousand dollars made.

IJ’s Matt Miller launches it’s challenge of El Paso’s unconstitutional mobile vending prohibition that prevents food trucks from operating within 1000 of bri…IJ’s Matt Miller launches it’s challenge of El Paso’s unconstitutional mobile vending prohibition that prevents food trucks from operating within 1000 of brick-and-mortar competition.

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The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. But shouldn’t it be paved with bad intentions? Andrew Klavan investigates.

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How can Americans create private sector jobs?The solution to America’s jobs problem lies not with budget-busting federally mandated “stimulus” programs.Instead, what is needed are specific reforms that wouldn’t cost taxpayers, would create a broader tax base for cash-strapped cities and states, and would provide opportunity for millions of Americans who worry where their next paycheck is coming from.As demonstrated by a series of eight new reports issued in October 2010 by the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, one of the principal obstacles to creating new jobs and entrepreneurial activity in cities across the country is the complex maze of regulations cities and states impose on small businesses. IJ’s “city study” reports are filled with real-world examples of specific restrictions that often make it impossible for entrepreneurs to create jobs for themselves, let alone for others.Chip Mellor, the president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said, “If the nation is looking to the federal government to create jobs in America, it is looking in the wrong place. If we want to grow our economy, we must remove government-imposed barriers to honest enterprise at the city and state levels. Remove those barriers, and you will see a return to the optimism and opportunity that are hallmarks of the American Dream.”IJ’s eight reports document how irrational and anti-competitive regulations block entrepreneurship. More often than not, these government-imposed restrictions on economic liberty are put in place at the behest of existing businesses that are not shy about using government force to keep out competition. The Institute for Justice’s city studies examine regulations imposed on a wide range of occupations in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

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