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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
April 2002

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independence.

-- C.A. Beard


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
"What is going on with GW? Raising tariffs. Signing the Incumbant Protection Act (aka Campaign Finance
    reform bill). Should there be a recall?"

For a guy whose father "fathered" NAFTA, GW's raising of steel and lumber tariffs (agianst Europe and Canada, repectively) is hard to understand. Ditto for a supposed defender of the Constitution. What was GW thinking in signing the Incumbant Protection Act (aka Campaign Finance Reform)? The simplest tariff explanation is to court voters in Pennsylvania and the Pacific NW (areas where GW was weak in the last election). Perhaps for the IPA, GW hopes the Supreme Court will strike down the law as unConstitutional, while GW will be able to say that he sided with Dems in support campaign finance reform.

This may be the explanation, Reps have learned something from 8 years of Clinton. Triangulation. Be on all sides on every issue, to keep your base and deny the issue to your opponents. Problem is, I think the average Rep. is more principled, has a longer memory - and yes - is more vindictive then the average Dem. This strategy could well backfire on Bush.

Tax Flashback;
 Ed: The following comes from the July 1994 News. I thought, given the season, it would be a good re-read. In particular, note the final warning on relying on the Supreme Court to protect rights.

Justices OK retroactive taxes

 June 13,1994, will go  down in  history
as the day when property lost  all protection against retroactive
taxation. On that Black Monday the Supreme  Court struck down the due process
protection against retroactive taxation. Previously, ex post facto tax laws
had been permitted back to the date  that the bill was introduced. The limited
retroactivity was based on the Court's reasoning that the introduction of a
bill  provided due notice to taxpayers.  However, this stretching of
retroactivity had not been allowed in  estate taxation.

THE REASON IS SIMPLE. A  person who relies on a law to make a will  is
deprived of due process if the law on  which he relies is overturned after
his  death. This common sense, fair,  longstanding precedent was thrown
away by a court that is extremely  protective of the "due process"
safeguards that it uses to uphold  abortions and racial quotas.

The "stark discrepancies" in the  court's due-process reasoning noted by
Justice Antonin Scalia make it clear  that the court views abortions and
preferential treatment for "preferred  minorities" far more worthy of
Constitutional protection than property  rights.

To encourage greater employee  ownership of companies, the 1986 Tax
Reform Act permitted a partial estate  tax deduction for stocks sold to a
company's employee stock ownership  plan (ESOP). Jerry W. Carlton, the
executor of an  estate fulfilling his fiduciary  responsibility, faithfully
relied on the  law. However, Congress retroactively changed the law, leaving
the estate a  surprise loss of $631,000. Relying on well-established Supreme
Court precedents, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the
retroactivity,  ruling that it was "harsh and oppressive. "

President Clinton, perhaps alarmed  at the implication for his own
retroactive  income and estate taxes that passed by  one vote in 1993, had
his government  appeal to the Supreme Court. The Republican-appointed
conservative jurists obliged him.  Blackmun said that precedents from an
earlier time carry no weight. Scalia said  that due process "rights" are an
"oxymoron." Sandra O'Connor said  retroactive taxation was OK as long as
retroactivity didn't reach back too far.

IF THIS SOUNDS FLAKY and  callous, you are right. But it gets worse.
Blackmun, Rehnquist, Stevens,  Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg ruled  that
it is permissible for tax law to be  arbitrary and capricious as long as it
related to "legitimate legislative  purposes," such as raising revenues. In
their own words, "Tax legislation is not  a promise, and a taxpayer has
no vested  right in the Internal Revenue Code."

The Court has ruled that taxpayers  rely on the tax law at their own risk.
You might think that you have paid  your taxes for 1993 and prior years,
but  after Black Monday's ruling, whether  you have or not is entirely up to
the  goodwill of the Congress. As Scalia  notes, the Court's reasoning in
U.S. v.  Carlton "guarantees that all retroactive  tax laws will henceforth
be valid."

This means that Clinton and the  Democratic Congress can roll back the
"decade of greed" with an income tax  increase retroactive to 1981.

Get ready for it, as it's one way  Clinton and the Democrats can finance
their plan to socialize medicine. The  silver lining in the enormous tax
increase  that hangs over all our heads is that it will prove that
Reagan cut  everyone's taxes.

THOSE WHO LOOK TO the  Supreme Court to protect constitutional  rights
look in vain. The only way we  can protect ourselves from  dispossession
is to carefully monitor  the legislative actions of those we elect.

Guest Editorial:

"Gun Show Loophole Isn't"
By Neal Knox

           WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 10) - We?re nearing a major "gun control" push centered
           on "eliminating the gun show loophole" - the claim that unlicensed gun dealers are able to
           sell at gun shows without a criminal background check.

           The "loophole" doesn?t exist because Federal law requires anyone "engaging in the
           (firearms) business" to have a license. If that provision is enforced at gun shows (and it
           hasn?t always been), there is no loophole.

           To anti-gunners a "loophole" is any gun restriction or prohibition not yet enacted.

           Despite nervousness of Democrats from states and districts where gun ownership is
           common and respected - like Bill Clinton?s home state of Arkansas, Albert Gore?s
           Tennessee and other Democrat-leaning states which turned against their Presidential
           ticket in 2000 - Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has promised a floor
           vote "this session."

           Daschle appears to want to delay the bill, and to limit it to the relatively
           non-controversial - by Senate standards - Lautenberg gun show bill which passed the
           Senate in 1999 and has been resurrected as S. 767 by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and 22

           However, now that Sen. John McCain?s (R-Ariz.) Campaign Finance "Reform" Law has
           been enacted, he will probably soon offer his gun show bill, S. 890, as an amendment to
           "appropriate" legislation.

           If he doesn?t, he?ll never get a vote on his bill. McCain, who has never ceased running
           for President, wants his name on another "signature issue" popular with the press, and
           therefore most of the public.

           McCain?s primary co-sponsor, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Ct.), ducked when anti-gun
           groups were infuriated by S. 890. Lieberman said the bill was a back-up, and would
           only come to a vote if the Reed/Lautenberg bill failed. Daschle agrees.

           That spat within the anti-gun community is detailed in a lengthy article in the April 8 issue
           of American Prospect, a generally "Liberal" publication. It describes the anger at
           multi-millionaire Andrew McKelvey?s "Americans For Gun Safety" - which, despite
           being staffed by virulent anti-gunners - portrays itself as a "moderate" organization.

           There are relatively few differences between the bills, both of which radically expand the
           definition of "gun show" and the amount of red tape required of organizers of gun shows,
           shoots and other "events that provide a venue" for firearms sales.

           The McCain-Lieberman bill does soften some of the sharpest arguments against the
           Lautenberg/Reed bill, such as the fact that the "gun show" definition is so broad that two
           collectors meeting at one of their homes could qualify as a "gun show."

           But both bills would eliminate gun shows as they?ve existed, and not just because all
           sales or trades would require FBI background checks - something which NRA
           Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre endorsed in 1999, before the Lautenberg
           Amendment was introduced.

           Because both sides of Congress have approved "gun show" bills, the anti-gun crowd is
           confident of passing some version, and are determined to broaden the bill with
           amendments closing additional "loopholes."

           This week Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (both D-N.Y.) went to
           the steps of a Catholic Church where a man twice committed to mental hospitals (and
           released by a judge) had killed a priest and parishioner with a .22 rifle purchased four
           days before.

           They announced a bill to require state mental health agencies to report involuntary mental
           hospital commitments to the National Instant Check System. Their bill also would
           expand the present prohibition against gun possession by anyone under a domestic
           restraining order to include anyone who has been under a restraining order within five

           Schumer?s bill is certain to be an amendment to the "gun show" bill.

           When the Gun Control Act of 1968 proposed including a ban on possession by
           adjudicated "mental incompetents," the mental health community strongly opposed that
           section, citing evidence that persons with mental problems had lower incidence of
           violence than the public at large. But few mental health groups are objecting now.

           NRA ILA Executive Director Jim Baker told Newsday that NRA "believes that all the
           records required by law on prohibited persons should indeed be made available to the
           National Instant Check system and to the extent they are not, then the states should be
           forced to do so." Really?

           Another likely amendment is one to "close the newspaper ads loophole" - prohibiting
           newspaper gun ads unless they require NICS background checks, which is being touted
           by Illinois anti-gun groups and politicians.

           That?s just one notch off the final NICS "loophole," which would require all private sales
           and gifts to go through dealers.


1. David Gay wisely speaks.

From:                "Gay, David" <>
To:                   "'Steve Langer'" <>
 Subject:                   RE: lastcall
 Date:                   Thu, 18 Apr 2002 10:26:40 -0500

Hi Steve,

"What's up with GW? Tariffs. Campaign Finance Reform (aka the Incumbant
Protection Act). Should there be a recall?"

No. The only way to address this is with Impeachment (but no grounds exist)
or wait until the next election.

Hopefully GW is just using this to take away issues from the Democrats for
the mid-term election. The tariff while not the best way to solve the
problems with the steel industry, it is the only Constitutionally mandated
type of tax. Making cars 1000 pounds heavier (and safer) would help the
steel workers more!

I just hope the Supreme Court strikes all or most of CFR down. Then I can
write back to my Congressman with a copy of his letter where he said that he
would never vote for something that was "unconstitutional" and ask him to

During the last election, Bill Luther (D.Min.) violated many of the items in
the CFR bill he voted for! This time, I'd like to see him begin every
campaign speech by thanking the Trial Lawyers and Labor Unions for all of
their support. Hopefully he won't be able to beat Mark Kennedy (R.Min.) who
shares the Minnesota 6th district after redistricting!

Keep the faith,

Quote(s) of the month:

"I have what it takes to take what you have."

-- Rush Limbaugh, suggesting a slogan for Tom Daschle 's (D, SD) 2004 bid for president. Ideally, Tom would say this with his arm wrapped around the IRS Commisioner's shoulder.

Fix of the month:

"What should the US energy policy be?"



1. The Bush Ranch, April 25: President Bush met with the crown prince of Sauuuudi Arabia for 5 hours. The prince advised that all the mid-east is concerned that the US is not reinging in Israel -- and warned Bush that if action is not taken soon, there could be recriminations on the US [like say - 9/11 ???].  The prince said that OPEC would not punish the US by cutting back oil production (not mentioned - the fact that the Russians could replace OPEC oil and take market share from OPEC).

Bush said he was a bit concerned that 15/19 Sept 11 terrorists were Sauuuuudi nationals, that the Sauuuuudi Govt has yet to denounce suicide bombers, and that 2 weeks ago the state controlled TV ran a telethon that raised $92 Million in 11 hours for the families of "jihad martyrs" (ie suicide bombers).

Washington D.C.

1. April 3: Under new IRS regs, obese people are declared to have a disease and will be able to deduct the costs of their fat fighting efforts.

2. April 8: The Washington Post reports that Iraq's Sadaam Hussien has released a new army payment policy. Families of soldiers who die in action will get $11000. Families of suicide bombers will get $25K. The average income in Iraq is $700/year.

3. April 9: The latest IRS results show that the top 1% of the nation's earners pay 33% of the country's income tax. The top 5% of income earners pay 55% of the nation's income tax.

4. April 8: House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D, SD) says that his mom has bounced 4 checks in her nursing home due to budget cutbacks in Medicare. One wonders if Dick is such an ungrateful son that Medicare is all his mother has to rely on.

5. April 23: Otherwise strange bedfellows - the NRA, ACLU and UAW are all bringing suit against the Campaign Finance Reform bill.

6. April 23: The NEA (National Education Assoc)did not declare over $22 million of member's (tax deductable) dues that were donated to the DNC (Democratic National Commitee) since 1994.

New York;

1. NY City, April 8: The current issue of Time points out that upwardly mobile professional women face a problem. Most of them still want to have children, but put off finding a mate until they have secured their career, only then do they seek mates - or at least sperm donors. But, most women still want to marry up. Since they are now higher up the food chain, there are fewer single male candidates, particulalry in the mid-late thirty age bracket.

2. NY City, April 17: The New Republic editors opine that no-one in their party (Dems) has the clout to defeat Bush in the next Presidential campaign. So, they hope, Sen John McCain (R, AZ) will pull a Jeffords, and run for president as a Dem in the next election. "He might as well," says the article, "Since he's co-authored or sponsored every major Dem piece of legislation to come out this session."


1. April 16, Moscow: The economy which has long been in a tough strait has begun improving in the former Soviet Union. So much so that the ruble is gaining strength and more Western investors are risking their $ in the nation. What is making this surge in Russian productivity? Last year, Vladimir Putin instituted a flat 13% income tax, eliminating the serpentine prior code that strangled business and led to a burgeoning black market.

Net News;

1. About that desktop fusion thing reported last month from the Oak Ridge boys ...

Table-top fusion controversy heats up In small Massachusetts town
 By Martin Bridge

(from the APS News)

                      In a startling development in the world of tabletop fusion, a controversial
                      experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory appears to have been
                      confirmed at a beauty parlor in Swampscott, Massachusetts. (The Oak
                      Ridge experiment, reported in the March 8 issue of Science, claimed to
                      achieve fusion in a beaker of deuterated acetone. Bubbles were created in
                      the acetone by a pulsed neutron beam, and these bubbles were made to
                      expand and then collapse catastrophically by applying an intense sound wave
                      to the liquid.)

                      Patrons of Gladys's Hair and Nail Salon on Main Street in Swampscott were
                      atwitter to discover that their everyday establishment had been catapulted
                      into the forefront of cutting-edge scientific research.

                      "You'd think we'd found the Higgs Boson or something," said Emily McTavish, who has been having her hair  done at Gladys's every other Wednesday as long as anyone can remember. "This tabletop fusion stuff just seems to send the press completely off the deep end." And indeed, hordes of media, their notebooks and cameras ready, could be seen prowling through every inch of the small salon with its four vinyl-covered chairs, old fashioned hair dryers, and small waiting area strewn with out-of-date Readers' Digest and Woman's Day magazines.

                      Rodney Colquist, a physics teacher at Swampscott Community College, was the one who discovered what was going on when his wife, Samantha, came home after her appointment at Gladys's in a frenzy of xcitement and disbelief. She had sat down in the number-one chair, and confided to Gladys that she wanted to change the color of her nails from deep red to bright pink. Samantha's nails had been deep red for years, so Gladys, figuring that it might be hard to get the layers of polish off, brought out a new brand of "Can-do  heavy-duty nail polish remover" imported from Canada.

                      "Little did Gladys realize," Colquist explained, his eyes dancing in appreciation of the irony of the situation, "that heavy-duty meant made with heavy water that had been left over from filling the vessel of one of Canada's nuclear reactors. The stuff was almost pure deuterated acetone."

                      Gladys carefully removed Samantha's watch from her wrist, and dipped the fingers of her left hand into the bath of polish remover.

                      Colquist explained that Samantha's watch was an heirloom, handed down from her mother, with an  old-fashioned radioactive dial that glows in the dark. "The numbers had been getting dim, so I took it down
 to the lab to repaint them just last week," he said. "I must have used some pretty powerful paint, because,
 even though it was a few inches away, that watch was irradiating the acetone and creating lots of tiny
 bubbles inside the liquid."

                      Then Gladys started telling Samantha the latest gossip about how old man McGillicuddy had left his wife of 51 years and run off with a young waitress from Marblehead that he'd met on a fishing trip the month before.

                      Samantha could not contain her surprise.


                      Did Louise have any idea? Hooo-EEEE!"

                      Gladys was just about to tell Samantha that Louise McGillicuddy was actually glad to be rid of the old  weasel at last, when she noticed a strange expression on Samantha's face.

                      "Gladys," Samantha said, her voice a hoarse whisper. "Something weird is going on. When I screamed just now, this polish remover heated up a good ten degrees. And when I screamed again, it got really hot!"

                      Gladys dipped her own hand into the liquid. It still felt warm.

                      "Go ahead," she said, "do it again."


                      Samantha screamed with all her might. Heads turned clear down to Roy's Bait and Tackle Shop two blocks away. Both women hastily pulled their hands away as the polish remover started to boil.

                      Asked what he planned to do next, Colquist said he had originally thought of reporting the results in a paper for Physical Review Letters.

                      "PRL is a journal that physicists really respect," he said. "But then I thought the better of it. Why risk  getting the paper rejected by the referee? I decided to submit it to Science Magazine."