SeaViews: Insights from the Gray
(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News
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
-- 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
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.
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
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
June 13,1994, will go down in
as the day when property lost all protection against
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
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
safeguards that it uses to uphold abortions and racial
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
relied on the law. However, Congress retroactively
changed the law, leaving
the estate a surprise loss of $631,000. Relying on
Court precedents, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck
retroactivity, ruling that it was "harsh and
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
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
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
Reagan cut everyone's taxes.
THOSE WHO LOOK TO the Supreme Court to protect
look in vain. The only way we can protect ourselves
is to carefully monitor the legislative actions of
those we elect.
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
When the Gun Control Act of 1968 proposed including a ban on
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.
"Gay, David" <email@example.com>
Thu, 18 Apr 2002 10:26:40 -0500
"What's up with GW? Tariffs. Campaign Finance Reform (aka
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
problems with the steel industry, it is the only
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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.
1. About that desktop fusion thing reported last month
from the Oak Ridge boys ...
Table-top fusion controversy heats up In small
By Martin Bridge
(from the APS News)
In a startling development in the world of tabletop fusion,
experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory appears to have
confirmed at a beauty parlor in Swampscott, Massachusetts.
Ridge experiment, reported in the March 8 issue of Science,
achieve fusion in a beaker of deuterated acetone. Bubbles
were created in
the acetone by a pulsed neutron beam, and these bubbles were
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
atwitter to discover that their everyday establishment had
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
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
"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
"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