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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 6, Issue 41: October 11, 2004

  1. California’s Casino Propositions
  2. War Lies Piling Up, Eland Argues
  3. Event: The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed
  4. Columbus Day

1) California’s Casino Propositions

Henry Ford reportedly once quipped that his customers could have their automobile in whatever color they liked -- so long as it was black. California voters face a similar non-choice "choice" on election day, thanks to two statewide ballot initiatives pertaining to American Indian casinos. No matter which one passes, government will get more and casino customers will get less than they would like.

On the one hand, voters can vote for Prop. 68, which would require Native American casinos to pay 25 percent of their net earnings from slot machines or face competition from new slot machines at 16 currently operating non-Indian card rooms and racetracks. On the other hand, they can vote for Prop. 70, which would require the casinos to start paying California's corporate taxes in exchange for an increase in the number of casino slot machines and 99-year monopoly privileges. Different in details, but similar in two essentials.

If either proposition wins, the state government wins and casino customers will still have to suffer from the monopoly restrictions that limit the number of gambling opportunities in the state, according to economist Benjamin Powell, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation.

"Both of the propositions are ploys by special-interest groups for government handouts," writes Powell in a new op-ed. "Prop. 68 will benefit card rooms and racetracks, while Indian tribes...have funded the campaign for Prop. 70. Both bills involve the state government getting a cut too. Who is being left out? The California gaming consumer.

"The gambling business should not be treated any differently than other businesses in California," Powell continues. "Consumers and businesses should be free to engage in mutually beneficial transactions whenever they want. That would mean ending grants of monopoly privilege, and allowing card rooms, racetracks, and any other entrepreneurs to offer gaming options to consumers. Who would lose from a proposition for free enterprise in gaming? The special interests that are protected from competition by the state of California and the politicians who get to hand out the favors. That sounds like a good bet for California consumers and our economy."

See "Two Gaming Propositions Are Losing Bets," by Benjamin Powell (10/5/04) http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1377

Spanish translation:
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1377&esp=1

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2) War Lies Piling Up, Eland Argues

Has the Bush administration come clean about the claims it made to the American people to justify the Iraq war? The evidence isn't encouraging, argues Ivan Eland in a recent op-ed, "War Lies Are Piling Up."

National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice claimed ignorance about "the nature of the dispute" over whether the aluminum tubes sought by pre-war Iraq were likely to have been suited for a nuclear weapons program. Yet months before her plea, "the government's top nuclear experts in the Energy Department, who believed that the tubes were the wrong size to be used to make nuclear weapons, conveyed this information to Ms. Rice's staff," writes Eland.

Similarly, Vice President Dick Cheney "declared flatly that Iraq had reconstituted its quest to acquire nuclear weapons" -- despite a National Intelligence Estimate that said that this was unlikely.

"Of course, the 'WMD' rationale, including the nuclear threat, was just that -- a dubious justification for the invasion rather than the actual reason for it," Eland continues. "If it had been the actual reason for war, the U.S. military would have immediately secured Iraq's 'WMD' facilities after invading. That was not done.

"Thus, the administration lied about why it went to war in the first place and then about the evidence to support the phony justification. Mothers teach their children that liars eventually get caught because one lie requires others to hide the first. In the future, Bush administration officials should pay heed to mom's astute advice."

See "War Lies Are Piling Up," by Ivan Eland (10/4/04)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1375

For a detailed summary of THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see http://www.independent.org/publications/books/book_summary.asp?bookID=54

To purchase a copy, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

Center on Peace & Liberty
http://www.independent.org/research/copal/

Ivan Eland on Tour:

Boston:
-- Wednesday, October 13 o 2:30-4:00pm o Kennedy School of Government, Belfer Center, Harvard, 79 JFK Street, Bell Hall, Cambridge, 617-495-4708
-- Wednesday, October 13 o 4:30-5:30pm o Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-499-2000
-- Thursday, October 14 o 4-6pm o Weatherhead Center for Intl. Affairs, 1033 Massachusetts Avenue, Room M11, (east of Harvard Square), 617-495-4420

Washington, DC:
-- Tuesday, October 12 o 6-8pm o Elliot School of Intl. Affairs at George Washington University, 1957 E Street, N.W., Room 213, 202-994-1650
-- Monday, October 18 o 5-7pm o Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, 322 4th Street NE, 202-546-0795 x197

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3) Event: The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed

Ivan Eland To Discuss the Pitfalls of American Empire (Oakland, Calif., 10/28/04)
http://www.independent.org/events/detail.asp?eventID=102

The war in Iraq has produced more than 1,000 U.S. dead and 7,000 injured, an estimated 10,000 Iraqi civilian dead, costs approaching $200 billion, and no weapons of mass destruction. Recently, the number of terrorist incidents worldwide has dramatically increased, and the U.S. is hated more than ever. As a result, a growing number of Americans are beginning to question U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

How does the concept of empire fit with the principles of liberals and with the core ideas of conservatives? What about “blowback” and its effect on security and civil liberties at home? At this Independent Policy Forum, Ivan Eland, a leading expert on U.S. defense and national security and author of the new book THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES will examine U.S. military interventions around the world, from the Spanish-American War to the invasion of Iraq. He will expose the motives behind U.S. foreign policy, question the assumptions on which it is based, and advocate a return to the Founding Fathers' original vision for a free republic.

SPEAKER:

Dr. Ivan Eland is senior fellow and director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty. He is the author of THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY. He has been Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and Investigator at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. His articles have appeared in ARMS CONTROL TODAY, BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, and SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, and he has appeared on ABC, NPR, PBS, CNN, and BBC.

For a detailed summary of THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, see http://www.independent.org/publications/books/book_summary.asp?bookID=54

WHEN:
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Reception and book signing: 6:30 p.m.
Program: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:
The Independent Institute Conference Center
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
For a map and directions, see
http://www.independent.org/aboutus/map.asp

TICKETS: $15 per person ($10 for Independent Institute Members), or $30 for admission and a copy of THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES. Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366 or ordering online at http://www.independent.org/store/events/event_detail.asp?eventID=102.

Praise for Ivan Eland's new book, THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed:

“Dr. Eland makes a persuasive case that current U.S. national security policy is contrary to the principles of both liberals and conservatives, and is actually undermining our security and civil liberties.”
-- LAWRENCE J. KORB, former Assistant Secretary of Defense

“Impressively lucid, filled with careful research and highly insightful commentary, certain to satisfy concerned readers across the political spectrum.”
-AMB. EDWARD L. PECK, former Chief of U.S. Mission in Iraq

"Think a U.S. empire is desirable and viable? Read Ivan Eland's highly insightful, essential book, and you will change your mind."
-- EDWARD A. OLSEN, Professor of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School

For information about this event, see
http://www.independent.org/events/detail.asp?eventID=102

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4) Columbus Day

"Today is Columbus Day -- or the anti-Columbus 'Indigenous People's Day,' if you happen to be on a college campus. What better time to remind ourselves that, all too often, 'multiculturalism' really means antipathy for the West?" asked David Sacks and Peter Thiel in their classic op-ed for the WALL STREET JOURNAL.

"Many suspect that the West is not uniquely baneful, and realize that individual rights were not celebrated by cultures that bound women's feet, sold their own people into slavery, routinely performed clitorectomies, or enforced rigid caste systems," Sacks and Thiel continued. "Nevertheless, as recycled anti-Western banalities substitute for a genuine study of Western and non-Western cultures, multiculturalism effectively is wasting some of the best years of America's brightest students."

See "Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day," by David Sacks and Peter Thiel
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=299

For information about their book, THE DIVERSITY MYTH: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus, see http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=38

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