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I Can't Believe It's Not Government!
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Hey all,

There have been some recent changes for itsnotgov.org:

* Makeover to the front page (Though a bigger one is coming)
* You can now post without creating an account. Heard a story and only have a moment to contribute it? Just drop by and make a stub article.
* RSS feed of the latest new articles.

Spread the word! We're just getting started.

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Shout out from Free Talk Live!
For all your liberty answers go to: https://itsnotgov.org/. Stories about how cooperation and competition worked better than the State.

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Down the rabbit hole of voluntary food regulation... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Food_Safety_Initiative

From looking into food safety standards of Costco, Walmart, Target, etc, it seemed that there was a big web of organizations that work together to regulate food safety. The GFSI seems to be one of those organizations, trying to create international standards for criteria, to make interoperability between grocers easier. The nice thing is, it doesn't necessarily mean a top-down, one-size-fits all standard. A grocer can still say, "we accept food that meet A, B, C and D requirements. Alternately, we accept anything with GFSI rating X."

Anybody who's interested to look it up, or is already familiar, there's lots left to investigate and fill out. We've just got the very beginnings of it: https://itsnotgov.org/w/c/Regulation/FoodSafety/

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Hey all,

I Can't Believe It's Not Government will be featured on Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock tomorrow morning at 7 EST. Check us out! If you want us to bring up a specific NotGov story, submit it to itsnotgov.org tonight, and we'll do our best to talk about it.

https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Program-Page.htm

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Anybody familiar with the Great Northern Railroad?

https://itsnotgov.org/w/c/Infrastructure/Trains/GreatNorthernRailroad/

Seems like a great Libertarian story at first, but there seem to be some gaps:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/07/government-intervention-james-j-hill.html

Would be good to reconcile that data with what the Great Northern Railway Historical Society says (as cited in the current version of our article) and present an honest picture. Not even sure where the blog post's quotes came from, or how to cite them in a publicly viewable way.

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We've got the beginnings of an article about the Great Northern Railroad: https://itsnotgov.org/w/c/Infrastructure/Trains/GreatNorthernRailroad/

It's something us libertarians like to cite as a story of someone who defied what most people understood about the government's necessary role in building rail infrastructure. But wait - in the quest for intellectual honesty, it's always worth looking at the opposing side:

http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2011/07/government-intervention-james-j-hill.html

"But James J. Hill, who ran steamboats on the Red River, knew that the SP&P owned very valuable land grants and saw the potential of the railroad. Hill convinced John S. Kennedy (a New York City banker who had represented the Dutch bondholders), Norman Kittson (Hill’s friend and a wealthy fur trader), Donald Smith (a Montreal banker and executive with the Hudson’s Bay Company), and George Stephen (Smith’s cousin and a wealthy railroad executive) to invest $5.5 million in purchasing the railroad. On March 13, 1878, the road's creditors formally signed an agreement transferring their bonds and control of the railroad to Hill's investment group. On September 18, 1889, Hill changed the name of the Minneapolis and St. Cloud Railway (a railroad which existed primarily on paper, but which held very extensive land grants throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest) to the Great Northern Railway. On February 1, 1890, he transferred ownership of the StPM&M, Montana Central Railway, and other rail systems he owned to the Great Northern."

There's more in the link. It's not perfectly clear whether this is the same as what is mentioned by the Great Northern Railway Historical Society:

http://www.gnrhs.org/gn_history.htm

"Only government lands ever received by Mr. Hill's company were those attached to 600 miles of railway in Minnesota constructed by predecessor companies and acquired by purchase."

Though the historical society, in turn, cites the source of this information as being from: "1951 - A CONDENSED HISTORY of THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY
from the Public Relations Department, Great Northern Railway, St. Paul 1, Minnesota"

Is anybody familiar enough with the story to square all of these details? Does anybody know how to publicly access and cite some of the source material mentioned in the blog post? We'd appreciate your contributions to our article.

Also mentioned in the blog post, was the fact that he had to wait for the government to negotiate with the native populations before going through the Rocky Mountains. It's not clear what that implies. Was he permitted to do the negotiating himself in the first place? (though, what sort of "negotiation" went on with natives back then anyway?) Of course, one could likewise argue (as someone did in that blog post's comments) that it would be impossible to build a westward railroad without land grants, since the government claimed all of the land in the first place.
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