Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Constitution is Not Enough

The Constitution is Not Enough

The Soviet Union had a fine constitution. Their version of the Bill of Rights was quite a bit better (or at least stronger) as a guarantor of rights to the common people than our measly ten amendments. The constitution DOES NOT MATTER when you have a government that is bound and determined to take our rights away, as a natural consequence of seizing more power for themselves. Our government has been doing this from the very start. In 1803, Marbury vs Madison, the Supreme Court seized power from congress and the president, declaring itself the supreme power over the other branches. The federals have not stopped taking power in unconstitutional ways since then.

Our only bulwark against tyranny is to make sure that the would-be dictator is afraid to take power. That is why the 1st and 2nd amendments were written, and why they have pride of place right in the beginning of the list of rights. Read them in order - the 2nd guarantees the 1st. Our power to speak and publish and worship and assemble and complain - and shoot - guarantee that no president will try to put a crown upon his head. So they have been smarter than to do that - they take our rights and add to their power in little ways, all the time, bit by bit. It is death by a thousand cuts. That is why we need to elect principled supporters of constitutional limited government. Not necessarily to roll things back to the 18th century, but to hold the line, and maybe even roll the power of the overweening state back a bit. That is the best we can hope for.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Vomit List

The Vomit List

An interesting article from our friends at Zero Hedge crossed my workspace today. It covers some Eurobond territory in the beginning, but finishes with a list of tax provisions that corporations (Led by General Electric) are lobbying the government to keep. It truly has been well named by Bruce Krasting. If there is anything the American people need to do in the next election, it is to elect representatives who pledge to end corporate welfare this wide, this deep, this obscene.

The "Vomit" list


Sec. 101. Extension of Build America Bonds.

Sec. 102. Exempt-facility bonds for sewage and water supply facilities.

Sec. 103. Extension of exemption from alternative minimum tax treatment for certain tax-exempt bonds.

Sec. 104. Extension and additional allocations of recovery zone bond authority.

Sec. 105. Allowance of new markets tax credit against alternative minimum tax.

Sec. 106. Extension of tax-exempt eligibility for loans guaranteed by Federal home loan banks.

Sec. 107. Extension of temporary small issuer rules for allocation of tax-exempt interest expense by financial institutions.

Subtitle A–Energy

Sec. 201. Alternative motor vehicle credit for new qualified hybrid motor vehicles other than passenger automobiles and light trucks.

Sec. 202. Incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel.

Sec. 203. Credit for electricity produced at certain open-loop biomass facilities.

Sec. 204. Extension and modification of credit for steel industry fuel.

Sec. 205. Credit for producing fuel from coke or coke gas.

Sec. 206. New energy efficient home credit.

Sec. 207. Excise tax credits and outlay payments for alternative fuel and alternative fuel mixtures.

Sec. 208. Special rule for sales or dispositions to implement FERC or State electric restructuring policy for qualified electric utilities.

Sec. 209. Suspension of limitation on percentage depletion for oil and gas from marginal wells.

Sec. 210. Direct payment of energy efficient appliances tax credit.

Sec. 211. Modification of standards for windows, doors, and skylights with respect to the credit for nonbusiness energy property.

Subtitle B–Individual Tax Relief
PART I–Miscellaneous Provisions

Sec. 221. Deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers.

Sec. 222. Additional standard deduction for State and local real property taxes.

Sec. 223. Deduction of State and local sales taxes.

Sec. 224. Contributions of capital gain real property made for conservation purposes.

Sec. 225. Above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses.

Sec. 226. Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes.

Sec. 227. Look-thru of certain regulated investment company stock in determining gross estate of nonresidents.

PART II–Low-income Housing Credits

Sec. 231. Election for direct payment of low-income housing credit for 2010.

Sec. 232. Low-income housing grant election.

Subtitle C–Business Tax Relief

Sec. 241. Research credit.

Sec. 242. Indian employment tax credit.

Sec. 243. New markets tax credit.

Sec. 244. Railroad track maintenance credit.

Sec. 245. Mine rescue team training credit.

Sec. 246. Employer wage credit for employees who are active duty members of the uniformed services.

Sec. 247. 5-year depreciation for farming business machinery and equipment.

Sec. 248. 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant buildings and improvements, and qualified retail improvements.

Sec. 249. 7-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes.

Sec. 250. Accelerated depreciation for business property on an Indian reservation.

Sec. 251. Enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory.

Sec. 252. Enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of book inventories to public schools.

Sec. 253. Enhanced charitable deduction for corporate contributions of computer inventory for educational purposes.

Sec. 254. Election to expense mine safety equipment.

Sec. 255. Special expensing rules for certain film and television productions.

Sec. 256. Expensing of environmental remediation costs.

Sec. 257. Deduction allowable with respect to income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.

Sec. 258. Modification of tax treatment of certain payments to controlling exempt organizations.

Sec. 259. Exclusion of gain or loss on sale or exchange of certain brownfield sites from unrelated business income.

Sec. 260. Timber REIT modernization.

Sec. 261. Treatment of certain dividends of regulated investment companies.

Sec. 262. RIC qualified investment entity treatment under FIRPTA.

Sec. 263. Exceptions for active financing income.

Sec. 264. Look-thru treatment of payments between related controlled foreign corporations under foreign personal holding company rules.

Sec. 265. Basis adjustment to stock of S corps making charitable contributions of property.

Sec. 266. Empowerment zone tax incentives.

Sec. 267. Tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia.

Sec. 268. Renewal community tax incentives.

Sec. 269. Temporary increase in limit on cover over of rum excise taxes to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Sec. 270. Payment to American Samoa in lieu of extension of economic development credit.

Sec. 271. Election to temporarily utilize unused AMT credits determined by domestic investment.

Sec. 272. Reduction in corporate rate for qualified timber gain.

Sec. 273. Study of extended tax expenditures.

Subtitle D–Temporary Disaster Relief Provisions
PART I–National Disaster Relief

Sec. 281. Waiver of certain mortgage revenue bond requirements.

Sec. 282. Losses attributable to federally declared disasters.

Sec. 283. Special depreciation allowance for qualified disaster property.

Sec. 284. Net operating losses attributable to federally declared disasters.

Sec. 285. Expensing of qualified disaster expenses.

PART II–Regional Provisions
subpart a–new york liberty zone

Sec. 291. Special depreciation allowance for nonresidential and residential real property.

Sec. 292. Tax-exempt bond financing.

subpart b–go zone

Sec. 295. Increase in rehabilitation credit.

Sec. 296. Work opportunity tax credit with respect to certain individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina for employers inside disaster areas.

Sec. 297. Extension of low-income housing credit rules for buildings in GO zones.


Sec. 301. Definition of eligible plan year.

Sec. 302. Eligible charity plans.

Sec. 303. Suspension of certain funding level limitations.

Sec. 304. Optional use of 30-year amortization periods.

Sec. 305. Transition rule for certifications of plan status.

Subtitle A–Personal Service Income Earned in Pass-thru Entities

Sec.401. Partnership interests transferred in connection with performance of services.

Sec. 402. Income of partners for performing investment management services treated as ordinary income received for performance of services.

Subtitle B–Corporate Provisions

Sec. 411. Treatment of securities of a controlled corporation exchanged for assets in certain reorganizations.

Sec. 412. Taxation of boot received in reorganizations.

Subtitle C–Other Provisions

Sec. 421. Modifications with respect to Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Sec. 422. Denial of deduction for punitive damages.


Sec. 501. Extension of section 508 reclassifications.

Sec. 502. Repeal of delay of RUG-IV.

Sec. 503. Limitation on reasonable costs payments for certain clinical diagnostic laboratory tests furnished to hospital patients in certain rural areas.

Sec. 504. Funding for claims reprocessing.

Sec. 505. Medicaid and CHIP technical corrections.

Sec. 506. Addition of inpatient drug discount program to 340B drug discount program.

Sec. 507. Continued inclusion of orphan drugs in definition of covered outpatient drugs with respect to children’s hospitals under the 340B drug discount program.

Sec. 508. Conforming amendment related to waiver of coinsurance for preventive services.

Sec. 509. Clarification of effective date of part B special enrollment period for disabled TRICARE beneficiaries.

Sec. 510. Adjustment to Medicare payment localities.

Sec. 511. Clarification for affiliated hospitals for distribution of additional residency positions.

Subtitle A–General Provisions

Sec. 601. Allocation of geothermal receipts.

Sec. 602. Employment for youth.

Sec. 603. Housing Trust Fund.

Sec. 604. The Individual Indian Money Account Litigation Settlement Act of 2010.

Sec. 605. Appropriation of funds for final settlement of claims from In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation.

Sec. 606. Expansion of eligibility for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation to include all chapter 61 disability retirees regardless of disability rating percentage or years of service.

Sec. 607. Refunds disregarded in the administration of Federal programs and federally assisted programs.

Sec. 608. Qualifying timber contract options.

Sec. 609. Extension and flexibility for certain allocated surface transportation programs.

Sec. 610. Community College and Career Training Grant Program.

Sec. 611. Extensions of duty suspensions on cotton shirting fabrics and related provisions.

Sec. 612. Modification of Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund.

Sec. 613. Department of Commerce Study.

Sec. 614. ARRA planning and reporting.

Sec. 615. Surety bonds.

Sec. 616. Funding for Deployment of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Electric Power Transmission Projects.

Subtitle B–Extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance

Sec. 621. Short title.

Sec. 622. Extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance.

Subtitle C–Extension of Health Coverage Improvement

Sec. 631. Improvement of the affordability of the credit.

Sec. 632. Payment for the monthly premiums paid prior to commencement of the advance payments of credit.

Sec. 633. TAA recipients not enrolled in training programs eligible for credit.

Sec. 634. TAA pre-certification period rule for purposes of determining whether there is a 63-day lapse in creditable coverage.

Sec. 635. Continued qualification of family members after certain events.

Sec. 636. Extension of COBRA benefits for certain TAA-eligible individuals and PBGC recipients.

Sec. 637. Addition of coverage through voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations.

Sec. 638. Notice requirements.

Subtitle D–TANF Provisions

Sec. 641. Extension of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and related programs.

Sec. 642. Reinstatement of Federal matching of State spending of child support incentive payments.

Sec. 643. Extension and modification of the TANF Emergency Fund.

Sec. 644. Modifications to TANF data reporting.

Sec. 645. State court improvement program.

Subtitle E–Unemployment Compensation Program Integrity

Sec. 651. Permissible uses of unemployment fund moneys for program integrity purposes.

Sec. 652. Mandatory penalty assessment on fraud claims.

Sec. 653. Prohibition on noncharging due to employer fault.

Sec. 654. Collection of past-due, legally enforceable State debts.

Sec. 655. Treatment of short-time compensation programs.

Sec. 656. State use of compensating balances and interest earned on clearing account to pay associated banking costs.

Sec. 657. Reporting of first day of earnings to directory of new hires.

Sec. 658. Deduction of obligations for custodial parents.

Sec. 659. Advisory Council on unemployment compensation.

Sec. 660. Amendment to the Federal-State extended benefits program.

Sec. 661. Operating instructions and regulations.

Subtitle F–Custom User Fees

Sec. 665. Customs user fees.

WOW! That is quite a list of corporate welfare and special pleading. Tax professionals, like Michelle Bachmann, make tidy livings making sense of all that gibberish. That is why compliance costs for corporate tax are about equal to the amount paid in tax. We the People are supposed to be too stupid to understand this rent-seeking (and granting) game that goes on between business and government. We may be. We may not. That is what the Tea Party movement is supposed to be all about.

Right now, running for president, there are only two candidates who claim to want to do more than window dressing on this obscene fraud. That is, Rick Perry and Herman Cain. No others even make noises about dumping this monstrosity, although they all make noises about tinkering with it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson

VDH is one of the superior conservative thinkers of the age. He does not like the same candidate I like, but he has a well thought out point of view. as always for him. An important interview, well worth your ten minutes.



Many Zero Base Thinkers like Newsbusted, but their latest effort is better than most.

An Oldie But Goodie

An Oldie But Goodie

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

More anti-science from the political left

The anti-science political left

Interesting turn about, as the political left tries to make sure that smokers have no alternative that they might actually like.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Scientific Heresy - Matt Ridley's Angus Millar lecture at the RSA

Scientific Heresy - Matt Ridley's Angus Millar lecture at the RSA

The great Matt Ridley has posted the text of his speech on scientific heresy at the Bishop Hill Blog. Great reading - a finely reasoned logical presentation. A little taste:
Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

After all there’s pseudoscience and confirmation bias among the climate heretics too.

Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not. Remember Britain’s unilateral climate act is officially expected to cost the hard-pressed UK economy £18.3 billion a year for the next 39 years and achieve an unmeasurably small change in carbon dioxide levels.

At least* sceptics do not cover the hills of Scotland with useless, expensive, duke-subsidising wind turbines whose manufacture causes pollution in Inner Mongolia and which kill rare raptors such as this griffon vulture.

At least crop circle believers cannot almost double your electricity bills and increase fuel poverty while driving jobs to Asia, to support their fetish.

At least creationists have not persuaded the BBC that balanced reporting is no longer necessary.

At least homeopaths have not made expensive condensing boilers, which shut down in cold weather, compulsory, as John Prescott did in 2005.

At least astrologers have not driven millions of people into real hunger, perhaps killing 192,000 last year according to one conservative estimate, by diverting 5% of the world’s grain crop into motor fuel*.

That’s why it matters. We’ve been asked to take some very painful cures. So we need to be sure the patient has a brain tumour rather than a nosebleed.
Read the whole thing. Even better, see the pdf with all the illustrations.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

More Fraud From Obama's Energy Department

More Fraud From Obama's Energy Department

Is this the best use of our tax dollars?
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is probing a $730 million conditional loan commitment to Severstal, a Russian company operating mainly in the steel and mining industry. Writing to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the California Congressman questioned whether Severstal North America, a subsidiary of the powerhouse Russian manufacturer, should benefit from public financing to improve and expand facilities in Dearborn, Michigan.

The North American division of the company has struggled to penetrate the U.S. steel market, and it sold three of its U.S. mills in March. Consequently, Severstal North America received a conditional loan approval from the U.S. Energy Department in July to help retool and expand its factory in Dearborn.

Severstal is owned and controlled by Alexei Mordashov, who is worth $18.5 billion and is one of the wealthiest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine. In Issa’s letter, he asked Secretary Chu why taxpayer money is needed when "announcements made by Severstal during the loan consideration process indicated that the company had ample means to carry out the project."

Issa contended that the company already had plans to expand production "with apparently no need for federal financing." In fact, Severstal had already sold plants in Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia, as part of a plan to shift operations to its Michigan facilities. "Given the immense wealth and power of Severstal’s CEO and the fact that the corporation had already made significant investments in the project, it is surprising that DOE would choose Severstal for a loan meant to spark new businesses and technologies within the automotive industry," Issa wrote.