The anti-automobile mentality

When I have the time, I enjoy a good conversation on social media. I don’t call people names. I keep it civil, but I love to lock horns with someone and take them to the mat, socratically isolating their premises from their conclusion. Sometimes I ask rhetorical questions, but mostly I just ask clarifying questions to follow their reasoning wherever it takes us.

Earlier this year I had that kind of an interaction with a Pacific Green Party acquaintance of mine. I first met Seth Woolley at a Cascade Policy Institute event, which is a testament to how broad Cascade’s audience can be. A great discussion about global warming that night led to a Facebook friendship followed by more good conversations. Indeed, I even wrote about his perspective on redistricting right here on the pages of the Oregon Catalyst.

When I posted the Catalyst piece I wrote about the game theory of fare evasion on MAX, it led to a sprawling conversation that concluded with him being quite frank about the full implications of the worldview with an approach to transportation policy is decidedly anti-automobile. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Transportation | 2 Comments

We Need To Talk About The College Protesters

In 2010 I stumbled onto the Oregon State University classroom as a college freshman.  As a political science major with conservative/libertarian values, I quickly found a home with the OSU College Republicans.  I can remember the first time I volunteered to table in the quad, a woman approached our booth and accused one of the local candidates of being a racist, being unfamiliar with that particular individual and not quite sure what to say I awkwardly smiled at her only to be hit with “that’s great, smile for your racist candidate you fucker!” as one of her friends dragged her away from our table.  Little did I know that that was only the first step on my adventure of being an outspoken conservative on an American college campus. Continue reading

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Posted by at 04:37 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rep. Buehler calls on Sen. Jeff Kruse to resign

SALEM, Ore.—Today, state Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, today called on state Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, to resign immediately and released the following statement:

“The recent allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct and inappropriate behavior in the Oregon Capitol have elevated important conversations about workplace conduct, the role that power plays in relationships between men and women and the importance of validating women who come forward to share their stories of abuse and humiliation. What’s clear is that for too long casual attitudes and unprofessional behavior has been accepted in the Capitol. This unfortunate culture knows no party affiliation and exists whether you’re an elected official, staff, or lobbyist. This is a moment for change.

Continue reading

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Posted by at 02:28 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Secretary Richardson Statement on Senator Kruse Investigation

A formal complaint was recently filed against Oregon Senator Jeff Kruse regarding multiple accounts of sexual misconduct in the Oregon State Capitol. The allegations are extensive and disturbing.  Continue reading

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Posted by at 02:27 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Death With Dignity

Right From the Start

In 1994, Oregon’s overwhelmingly Democrat majority approved by a narrow margin Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. It is euphemistically named thusly as if government approval of a form of suicide makes it dignified. (Not uncharacteristic of liberal/progressive rationale, all other forms of suicide and attempted suicide are still illegal in Oregon.) There is nothing more or less dignified about injecting a lethal dose of chemicals than putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger. But as with most things advocated by liberals/progressives, a misleading title makes up for the cruelty that lies beneath. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Assisted suicide, Ethics, Individual Responsiblity, Liberalism, Oregon Government, Progressivism, Religion | 1 Comment

Kate Brown’s Attention Deficit Disorder

By John A. Charles, Jr.

The most serious problem facing Oregon right now is the exploding costs of the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). The PERS crisis is so severe that the Oregon Legislature should make it the only issue addressed in the February 2018 legislative session.

But Governor Brown isn’t interested in reducing the PERS liability. That would take too much work and might offend her public employee union campaign contributors. So instead she has signed two Executive Orders purporting to address “climate change,” ahead of her jaunt to Bonn, Germany next week to attend a United Nations conference on global warming.

Her Executive Orders impose a blizzard of costly requirements on new buildings, including requirements for new homes to meet energy efficiency guidelines by 2023, and mandates for new homes to be solar-panel-ready by 2020. New buildings will also have to accommodate electric vehicles, regardless of whether the owners ever intend to own such vehicles. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Tell Senate President Peter Courtney you oppose the extreme left agenda in 2018

More than once, the Oregon Senate has halted major pieces of the extreme leftist agendas of Tina Kotek and House Democrats. Now Kotek is gearing up to push more fringe legislation in 2018. The only thing standing in the way is the Oregon Senate. Cap and trade, tax hikes, rent control, and more could be law in 2018 unless we show them that Oregonians oppose these harmful ideas.

Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney has a short survey about these issues (and more) for the 2018 Oregon Legislative Session. Use the link below to take the survey, then share this post with your fiends and encourage them to make their voices heard. Stopping this liberal agenda in Salem will require an organized, grassroots effort that begins now!

>> Take the survey <<

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Posted by at 06:58 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The 242nd Marine Corps Birthday

Today is the Marine Corps’ birthday. Founded in a popular Philadelphia watering hole called Tun Tavern, from the Continental Marines to the United States Marines, our naval infantry has earned a prominent place in American military history. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in U.S. Marine Corps | 3 Comments

The 2017 Election and The Political Pendulum

Alright folks, it is time to wake up and smell the democracy, because we had an election this week. If you have spent any time watching MSNBC this week you have probably seen how giddy they are about these election results, while some Republicans attempt to downplay them. So let’s talk about what really happened this week and what it means for the 2018 election.

Democrats were able to replace Democratic Governor of Virginia Terry Mcauliffe with his Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and took the New Jersey Governor’s mansion back from Republicans by selecting Democrat Phil Murphy over Chris Christie’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. Additionally, Democrats had some big wins down the ballot, including flipping the Washington State Senate over the Democratic control. Big day for Democrats you might think. Well yes and no.

At the heart of it, Virginia and New Jersey are blue states or at the very least deep purple states. Republican’s Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell were both superstars who generated Presidential buzz because they were able to come in and win victories in these states back in 2009. Just like how those 2009 elections were not great for then President Obama, the 2017 elections were always going to be a challenge for President Trump. Chris Christie has consistently polled as one of the least popular Governors in the entire country, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that his Lt. Governor would be facing an uphill battle to replace him. Virginia presents a real challenge for Republicans because of the growing number of folks who work in DC but live in the northern parts of Virginia. Oregonians are familiar with the concept of “Portland Creep” and similarly Virginia has become victim to “DC Creep”.

American politics has always been a pendulum, and you can’t keep a pendulum from swinging back by sheer force of will. If November 2016 was the high water mark for national Republicans, then there is really nowhere else to go but down. With rare exceptions, like the 2002 election shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the sitting President’s party almost always takes a hit in the off-year cycle. Look at the voter turnout numbers in Virginia and it is pretty clear to see that Democrats are more motivated right now than Republicans are. During President Obama time in office, the Democratic party lost over 1000 seats down nationally. Holding the White house only masked how much the Democratic party had been gutted at the state and local level. National Republicans have to show that they are worthy of the majorities they now hold or risk a similar decline when the pendulum swings away.

Trumpism was successful in 2016 when it was in direct contrast with Clintonism. One of the main reasons Donald Trump was able to be successful in the election was because many in the Obama Coalition that made President Obama victorious in 2008 and 2012 did not turn out to support Hillary Clinton in 2016. Having Clinton at the top of the ticket dampened Democratic enthusiasm and the leftist media assured the voters that she was a sure winner, leading to a decreased turnout among potential Democratic voters. Now opposition to President Trump has energized the Democratic base in a way they were not activated in 2016. Republican’s response needs to be to find ways to jump-start our economy and fulfill the promises they made to voters on the campaign trail. Due to the political pendulum, it is likely that 2018 will come with a Democratic wave, but it is the actions of Republican leaders that will determine if there will be enough high ground for the Republican majority to survive the tsunami.


Jacob Vandever is political activist, lifelong Oregonian, and proud Oregon State graduate. Jacob is the Editor of the Oregon Upstart Blog.

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Posted by at 04:24 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grading the House Tax Reform and Reduction Proposal

Right From the Start


The House Republicans have released their version of the tax reform and reduction package long promised by the GOP. In my view they get about a C- for their efforts. Before critiquing their effort I would note that I am not a believer that perfect should be the enemy of good. Progress and improvement should be noted and hailed. And in this case virtually any change from the “gawdawful” tax system we currently have can be considered progress and improvement.

I have noted in the past that I have a relatively simple economic situation. My income consists of my stock market investments and my social security benefits. I do not have a business that requires me to track revenue and expenses. I do not have any partnerships or exotic investments in mining, oil production or even real estate rentals. My deductions consist of my charitable contributions and my taxes paid, which combined exceed the standard deduction. And despite that it takes me nearly twenty hours spread over three or four days to accumulate, calculate and complete my state and federal tax returns. Many of my friends in similar circumstances utilize professional tax preparers at a significant cost to them. In short – that is outrageous. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Congress, Leadership, President Donald Trump, President Obama, Public Employee Unions, Republican Party, Tax Reform | 1 Comment

The Conservative Case for Dr. Knute Buehler

By Alex Titus

Oregon can’t wait any longer for leadership.

Our K-12 education system remains one of the worst in the country with approximately 25 percent of students not graduating high school.

Hundreds of Oregonians are dying from opioid overdose annually. Much needed reform to address our state’s public employee retirement system remains at a halt and our rural communities are as neglected as ever.

Worse, news broke this week that Oregon wrongly overpaid $74 million to healthcare organizations. This is money no longer available to aid struggling families. Continue reading

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Posted by at 11:06 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Oregon’s affordable housing crisis can be attributed to restrictive land use policies


By Lydia White

Affordable housing advocates are quick to criticize Portland City Council’s use of the $258.4 million affordable housing bond, but their criticism is fundamentally misdirected. Advocates should turn instead to Oregon’s state and local governments to demand an overhaul of restrictive land use policies.

Vanessa Brown Calder of the Cato Institute has produced a report which demonstrates a correlation between increased zoning and land use regulations and more expensive housing.

One of Oregon’s most restrictive land use policies is the urban growth boundary, a simulated border created to reduce urban development. The Portland Tribune recently reported that, according to Christopher Herbert, the managing director of the Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, UGBs “have the downside of raising land prices” by restricting access to developable land. While some proponents claim that UGBs protect farmland, most fail to acknowledge the extent of their negative externalities. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Labor benefits from a lower business tax

Since the Republicans’ tax reform leaves the top income bracket where Obama left it, Democrats will be forced to look elsewhere for a way to paint this as a tax cut primarily for the rich. Given the fact that two-thirds of the $1.5 trillion cut over the next ten years comes from reducing the corporate tax to 20%, that’s likely where they’ll focus.

The progressives’ narrative is that we have to choose whether or not to distribute the benefits of a tax cut on workers or the owners of the workers’ firms. Dynamic general equilibrium models show this inherent class conflict doesn’t quite exist, because the incidence of corporate taxes reduce wages. Cutting these taxes then structures the economy to afford higher wages.

It’s, of course, difficult for most people, including the refined readership of the Oregon Catalyst, to follow DGE models; so I alert your eyes to a very simple but persuasive static model from Harvard’s Greg Mankiw, author of the best selling economics textbook. Mankiw elegantly shows for every $1 this tax on capital is reduced, the economy will adjust to a $1.50 increase in wages. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Taxes | 1 Comment

Republicans, Pass Tax Reform or Else

Complete Republican control of the Federal government has been disappointing, to say the least. While good things have been done with judicial appointments and in regards to deregulation by executive authority, the GOP congress has yet to pass a landmark piece of legislation. Failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is the most glaring example of the shortcomings of our elected officials in Washington. Now with tax reform on the table, the congressional Republicans have one last chance to prove themselves worthy of the trust we have put in them, pass a comprehensive tax reform bill, or face the consequences.

While we are just now getting the details on the proposed GOP tax plan, the prospects have been quite exciting. Lower corporate taxes, repatriation of money from overseas, a doubled standard deduction, fewer tax brackets, and the elimination of many loophole and carve-outs have been staples of conservative economic thought since the Supply-Side Revolution. If Republicans can’t come together around a combination of pro-growth and middle-class tax cuts, then it is unclear what you could get them together on.

The political challenge looks like it could come from Republican members of Congress living in high tax states like California or New York whose constituents would be hurt by the provisions of the plan that eliminate the deduction for state income taxes. Philosophically we can debate if our Federal Tax code should be subsidizing the ridiculously high tax rates in California, but at the end of the day, you would expect a number of Republicans in Congress will side with their constituents over the party. The GOP has around 20 extra votes House of Representatives which could make things close. Currently there are 14 Republicans representing California in the House of Representatives, and New York who has 9 Republicans, if these representatives banded together the could derail tax reform, not to mention the possibility of Republicans from other high tax states like Illinois getting involved. Thankfully in the Senate, all of these high tax states have exclusively Democrats representing them.

So there may be some horse trading and some compromises made within the Republican caucus in order to get a bill though. As with any major piece of legislation, there will be winners and losers at the end of the day. Lowering the cap on mortgage interest deduction from $1 million to $500,000 is sure to ruffle a few feathers among the Republicans, especially those allied with the homebuilders and realtors lobby. While the details are definitely important, and I hope our representatives hash out this issues, it is inevitable that some Republicans will need to swallow some bitter herbs in order for the entire plan to make it through.

So here is my advice to those Republicans: swallow the bitter herbs. Republicans in Congress already look like the Gang that Can’t Shoot Straight because of their inability or unwillingness to repeal Obamacare. The President and the GOP need a win, and tax reform is the perfect issue to get that win on. So put up a fight over the provisions of the plan that you find objectionable, but when that final bill hits the floor, you better vote for it or face the consequences at the ballot box.


Jacob Vandever is political activist, lifelong Oregonian, and proud Oregon State graduate. Jacob is the Editor of the Oregon Upstart Blog.

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Posted by at 03:01 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Prejudice makes bad policy: my response to Wim de Vriend

In his final installment of a four-part anti-immigration series, Wim de Vriend meets Webster’s description of prejudice: “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.” He devoted his sprawling prose to a handful of sexually violent anecdotes involving immigrants without even the slightest attempt to present evidence these outlying instances are representative of American immigrants.

As the Alt-Right is forced to extrapolate from an unusual event in Germany two years ago, it merely highlights the fact that immigrants generally don’t harm us. Appeals to emotionally charged stories about things that nearly never happen are how needless government regulations get enacted.

Public policy should be based on evidence, not cherry-picked stories of the bizarre. That evidence has long been very clear. Immigrants commit crime at a significantly lower rate than the rest of us.

A typical Arab in the United States does not rape women. He’s an engineer at Intel, a finance manager at Nike, or mans a food cart selling falafels. The west side of Portland flows with the very kind of people de Vriend paints as monsters. There aren’t many gang rapes in Beaverton, Oregon, but there’s a whole lot of prosperity along Highway 26 thanks to the hard work of that sunset corridor’s many immigrants. Getting rid of that flow of human productivity will not lower our crime rates, but it will lower our standard of living.

It’s ridiculous that de Vriend keeps referring to Japan as some kind of an anti-immigration success story. Japan’s economy has been devastated for lacking the labor growth and dynamism that we have enjoyed over the past generation. Despite the punctuating dips of the occasional recession, the United States has been living in the wealthiest moment in its history in recent decades, continuing to break new world records in affluence this year. Japan peaked in 1990.

Our future is so bright, de Vriend’s pessimism is just detached from the fundamental reality of a googled world. He says the “chances of seeing another industrial revolution demanding millions of new, unskilled workers seem quite slim.” Yet we have revolutionary technologies building abundance all around us. That affluence will afford more human services. We will have to cook for ourselves less, and the need to mow our own laws out of economic necessity will continue to decline.

Who are we? America is an open society with no ethnic identity.  We are forged by a common Lockean Liberal ethos that is more powerful than the few among us, like de Vriend, who sometimes arbitrarily reject it. Indeed, it’s ironic that he, himself an immigrant, would question the fitness of other people to nest into America’s culture, when the blood-and-soil nationalism of the old-world that he has brought with him to our country is more alien to America’s founding than the rest of today’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of A Brief History of Political Cultural Change.



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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Government Regulation, immigration | 3 Comments

Immigration Part 4: Could it be too much of a Good Thing?

by Wim de Vriend 

That too many Muslim immigrants are incapable of behaving by western standards was shown convincingly during the Christmas/New Year’s season 2015/2016, in Cologne and other German cities, when groups of middle-eastern men would surround individual women, to rob, molest, injure and rape them: Continue reading

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Posted by at 09:49 | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Why Protesters of Betsy DeVos Can’t Understand What She’s Talking About

By Steve Buckstein

What would you do if you read an article about an Oregon public high school whose students seemed to be performing well above state averages? If you’re U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, you’d hop on a plane and come sit in on three senior classes at the school─McMinnville High School. That’s exactly what DeVos did on October 11. She also met privately with some students and friends, including Cascade Policy Institute School Choice Outreach Coordinator and 2012 Oregon Mother of the Year Bobbie Jager.

Her visit didn’t go unnoticed by those who incorrectly believe she’s out to destroy public education. Some 200 protesters, including teachers union officials, stood outside the school and let anyone who would listen know that they don’t want the school choice policies DeVos advocates anywhere near what they apparently see as the only educational institutions worthy of taxpayer support.

Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Metro’s New Plan to Keep Voters out of Chehalem Ridge Nature Park

By John A. Charles, Jr.

On October 19 the Metro Council adopted an Access Master Plan for the Chehalem Ridge Nature Park. This is a former industrial tree farm of 1,230 acres that Metro bought from Stimson Lumber Company in 2010.

Chehalem Ridge is Metro’s largest land purchase financed through the bond sale program approved by voters in 1995 and again in 2006. However, it’s not clear why it was ever a priority. Located just east of Gaston, Chehalem Ridge is outside the Metro boundaries and far from any urban population. The roads leading to it are narrow and winding, and there is no public transit. The entrance is gated, and the land has never been open to the public.

Chehalem Ridge is supposed to be the “crown jewel” of the Metro parks system, but the land itself is unremarkable. According to the Master Plan, prior surveys found “no significant natural areas on site.”

Surveys also showed “no historic or archeological materials” and “no cultural resources were found.”

In short, this is a generic parcel of overgrown timberland with minimal ecological value and almost no recreational appeal. Continue reading

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Posted by at 02:53 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Measure 101: things that make you go hmmm

The coming ballot measure to repeal parts of this year’s HB2391 has brought out a parade of the bizarre from its opponents. Crass partisanship went from merely bad to mockingly banal in three ways. Continue reading

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Medicaid, State Taxes | 2 Comments

Social Media Unleashes on White Male Portland City Council Candidate

Spencer Raymond seems like a nice enough guy.  The owner of The Civic Taproom took to social media the other day to announce that he was moving on from OPB where he worked as an announcer and producer in order to take a more active role in the community and seek a seat on the Portland City Council.  Seems like an innocent enough act, but social media thought differently.

Facebook commenters piled on the brand new candidate for Council Seat number three, with calls for him to drop out of the race and support one of the three women of color currently in the race. Continue reading

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Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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