From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johann Opitz)
Higher taxes, guaranteed
When you hear the words "open space," think tax increase. When you hear such terms as "urban boundary," or "smart growth," or "protect the land," think tax increase. Higher taxes are guaranteed. For the last decade, the federal government, and nearly every state, have been on a "land acquisition" binge. Promoted by environmental organizations, government has focused on buying every square inch of land it can afford. The land it cannot afford to buy, it tries to depreciate by clouding the title through easements and other use restrictions. The money to buy the land, or clutter the title, comes from taxes. But that's the least of the tax nightmare. Every square inch of land that government acquires, shrinks the base of taxpayers from which tax revenue can be extracted. This means that the remaining property owners, and users, must pay a higher tax rate.
OK: Judge Temporarily Halts Oklahoma Cockfighting Ban
An Oklahoma state court on Friday granted a temporary injunction barring enforcement of Oklahoma's new law to outlaw cockfighting, just days after voters decided to approve a ban on the blood sport. Oklahoma Judge Willard Driesel ordered the temporary injunction so that his court can examine the constitutionality of the new cockfighting ban that was to have taken force on Friday. The order will expire on Nov. 18, and a court hearing has been set in a week to determine if a stronger injunction may be granted. Driesel said in his ruling he will examine "whether or not constitutionally protected actions and freedoms are being prohibited or invaded." He said he will consider items such as whether the new measure unfairly interferes with commerce or deprives game fowl breeders of property without just compensation.
FL: Voters Accused To Trying To Vote Twice
People Allegedly Sent In Absentee Ballots, Then Voted Tuesday
Elections supervisor Theresa LePore plans to ask the State Attorney's Office to investigate as many as two dozen voters who voted twice in Tuesday's election. She said the voters sent in absentee ballots, then cast another ballot at the polls Tuesday. LePore said that the voters went to their precincts and signed an oath that they had not yet voted. They then took a provisional ballot and cast a second vote.
Trump sues New York City
REAL estate mogul Donald Trump has sued New York City for $US500 million ($885.74 million), claiming a tax assessor bribery scandal forced him to sell apartments at a luxury building at below-market prices, a published report said. Trump said corrupt tax assessors hiked up taxes at Trump World Tower, a 72-storey building near the United Nations, in order to cover up their scheme to lower taxes for certain landlords, The New York Times reported today. The higher taxes hurt the value of the tower's condominiums, depressing their selling prices, said Trump, who is also demanding that the city lower his property taxes on the luxury building to $US7.01 million ($12.42 million) a year from $US11.6 million ($20.55 million). Fifteen people have pleaded guilty in a 35-year scheme to cheat the city of hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes. Assessors took bribes totalling $US10 million ($17.71 million) in exchange for lowering assessments on commercial properties, mostly !
in Manhattan, authorities have said. At least one former tax assessor who pleaded guilty said assessors would raise taxes on some properties in order to hide the lower taxes on others.
Nasa pulls Moon hoax book
The US space agency (Nasa) has cancelled the book intended to challenge the conspiracy theorists who claim the Moon landings were a hoax. Nasa declined to comment specifically on the reasons for dropping the publication, but it is understood the decision resulted from the bad publicity that followed the announcement of the project. Criticism that Nasa was displaying poor judgement and a lack of confidence in commissioning the book caused it to abort the project, agency spokesman Bob Jacobs said.
Nat Hentoff: Freedom for Sudan's Slaves?
'Our Work Isn't Done. It's Just Begun.'
When the president of the United States officially found Sudan's National Islamic Front government in Khartoum guilty of genocide on October 21, I naively expected there would be significant press play. The New York Times had a photograph of the signing of the Sudan Peace Act the next day on page A18 with only a two-line caption and no mention of the key word genocide. The name of that internationally recognized crime was also omitted from The Washington Post's brief story on page A7 and in a longer Associated Press report. Jon Sawyer of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch got it right in a substantial story on October 22. From what I was able to see on television-broadcast and cable-that medium was clueless. But then, both television and much of the print press have also been clueless about state terrorism against Africans in Zimbabwe and Liberia, among other tyrannies on that continent. Ted Koppel's Nightline did do an exemplary week-long series on the Congo last year. And this !
October, PBS broadcast WGBH-TV's Liberia: America's Stepchild, on that country's maximum leader, Charles Taylor, and the atrocities he and some of his predecessors have inflicted on the people of that blood-soaked land. Otherwise, Africa, to the media, is usually the heart of darkness. As for the Sudan Peace Act, imagine how the media would have covered an American declaration of genocide on a white country that for years had enslaved many thousands of its white citizens, gang-raping the women during slave raids. ... But don't wait for The New York Times, The Washington Post, or the broadcast and cable television networks to report the need for that Security Council resolution. The call for further action will come, and keep coming, from Joe Madison, Michael Horowitz, Eric Reeves, and other members of the Sudan Coalition-along with Bishop Taban on the front lines.
H. L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian
SMOKING BAN ROBS THE POOR
LOW-income and working-class neighborhoods should be the biggest beneficiaries of anti-smoking policy. But the drive to criminalize smoking offers these neighborhoods little, if anything, in terms of public health. Instead, they face a future in which they will be stripped of literally billions of dollars, lose their few remaining businesses and see their civic life further marginalized. ... The South Bronx is hardly alone. New York state takes in three-quarters of a billion dollars a year from the national "tobacco settlement" - yet, despite constant promises, has failed to start a single community-based smoking-cessation program with this money. The anti-smoking leadership has been largely indifferent to spending money or time to directly help the health of Americans who would most benefit from quitting: They prefer punishment and prohibition. This has serious civic and financial consequences for the highest smoking neighborhoods. First, neighborhoods already reeling fro!
m the "war" on drugs can hardly sustain more street problems and legal sanctions. Will the attempt to tax cigarettes out of ordinary access create a new "criminal" class? One immediate result of New York City's recent tax hike, which sent brand-name cigarettes to $7 a pack, is that teenagers are now selling loose cigarettes for a dollar a piece. That not only threatens the drop in teen smoking - a major achievement of the smoking-cessation movement - but presages the tragic result of past prohibitions: an army of petty criminals, supplying what people want, inevitably has to be "fought" by a vast police army. Prohibition also takes direct aim at these neighborhoods' few functional businesses. On the block where I work in the South Bronx, three bodegas still function. Sales of cigarettes, unfortunately a major product for them, have fallen 25 percent since the new tax; around the corner, however, street sales by the pack are already well organized. The mostly small restaurants !
and bars which would fall under Mayor Bloomberg's proposed zero-tolerance smoking ban are mainstay local businesses. When they collapse, neighborhoods just go backwards. ...
Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans
The Pentagon is constructing a computer system that could create a vast electronic dragnet, searching for personal information as part of the hunt for terrorists around the globe - including the United States. As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant. Historically, military and intelligence agencies have not been permitted to spy on Americans without extraordinary legal authorization. But Admiral Poindexter, the former national security adviser in the Reagan administration, has argued that the government needs broad new powers to process, store and mine billions of minute details of electronic life in the United States. Admiral Poindexter, who has described the plan!
in public documents and speeches but declined to be interviewed, has said that the government needs to "break down the stovepipes" that separate commercial and government databases, allowing teams of intelligence agency analysts to hunt for hidden patterns of activity with powerful computers. ... Admiral Poindexter quietly returned to the government in January to take charge of the Office of Information Awareness at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as Darpa. The office is responsible for developing new surveillance technologies in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. ...
Analysts: Dems Can't Take Minorities for Granted
As exit polling continues to trickle in from Tuesday's elections, political leaders are putting their own spin on voter attitudes -- with Republicans charging that blacks and Hispanics can no longer be taken for granted by Democrats as two monolithic voting blocs. "The key strategy that the Democrats have had for at least 10 years is to scare black folk into believing that the Republicans are the party of racists -- that dog did not hunt in these elections," said Niger Innis, spokesman for the Congress on Racial Equality in New York.
Johann Opitz <email@example.com> RKBA!