From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johann Opitz)
State Coalition Approves Internet Sales Tax Plan
Prospects in Legislatures, GOP Congress Uncertain
Revenue-hungry states today took the first step toward building a national framework for taxing items sold over the Internet. In a meeting in Chicago, lawmakers and tax officials from 30 states -- including Virginia and the District of Columbia - endorsed a proposal to simplify their tax laws and enter into a voluntary pact to collect online sales taxes. Maryland officials present at the meeting abstained from today's vote. "This is a 21st century system that will dramatically improve the morass that currently exists," said Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R), a key leader in the states' effort. "I'm confident that this agreement....will mark the beginning of a new phase of this process." The voluntary program would take effect when at least 10 states representing 20 percent of the U.S. population have amended their laws to implement the program. Participating states would then be free to ask Congress to approve a mandatory, nationwide online sales tax regime. It's unclear, however!
, if Congress would go along with any online sales tax proposal.
Iraq war 'could kill 500,000'
A war against Iraq could kill half a million people, warns a new report by medical experts - and most would be civilians. The report claims as many as 260,000 could die in the conflict and its three-month aftermath, with a further 200,000 at risk in the longer term from famine and disease. A civil war in Iraq could add another 20,000 deaths. ... The report assumes an attack on Iraq will begin with sustained air strikes, followed by an invasion of ground troops and culminating in the overthrow of Baghdad. It concludes that the resulting death toll will be much higher than either the 1991 Gulf War, which killed around 200,000 Iraqis, or the war on Afghanistan, which has so far left less than 5000 dead. In the report's worst-case scenario, nuclear weapons are fired on Iraq in response to a chemical and biological attack on Kuwait and Israel, leaving a massive 3.9 million people dead. But the report states that even the best-case estimates for a short war would initially kill !
10,000 people, "more than three times the number who died on September 11". ...
Gennifer Flowers' defamation suit reinstated against Hillary Clinton, former aides
A federal appeals panel on Tuesday revived Gennifer Flowers' defamation suit accusing Hillary Rodham Clinton of masterminding a campaign to discredit her claim of an affair with Bill Clinton. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Flowers could try to prove the former first
lady, now a senator from New York, conspired against her with two presidential aides, George Stephanopoulos and James Carville. Still, the court said Flowers faces an "uphill battle" and must convince a Nevada judge there is evidence of a conspiracy before the case could proceed to a jury.
Gay Boy Scout Leaders Lose Ruling
Two gay Boy Scout leaders lost their bid to return to the organization in a decision by an appellate court that overturned an order that the two men be reinstated as troop leaders. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals decision found that the Boy Scouts of America did not act illegally in barring the two men ... The decision reverses a ruling issued last year by the D.C. Commission on Human Rights. The appellate court said it based its decision on a June 2000 Supreme Court ruling. ... In the ruling by the D.C. appeals court, issued Thursday, appellate Judges Michael Farrell, Stephen H. Glickman and Inez Smith Reid said they could not find any significant differences between the two cases. The Commission on Human Rights had argued otherwise, saying that the troop leader in the Supreme Court case was a gay activist while Pool and Geller made no indication they would advocate homosexuality as Boy Scout leaders. The appellate court disagreed, saying that the two men had be!
en vocal about their sexual preference.
Latinos lose momentum at polls in California
Turnout tumbles from peak in 1998 election
... Latinos make up one-third of the state's population, but on Tuesday they accounted for only 10 percent of the electorate, according to one exit poll. The easy explanation for the low representation has been the same for years: More than 60 percent of the Latino population can't vote, because they're too young or aren't U.S. citizens. ... a Los Angeles Times exit poll that showed a drop in the share of the state's minority voters, from 34 percent in 1998 to 20 percent on Tuesday. The Latino share of the vote fell from 13 percent to 10 percent, and the Asian vote dipped from 8 percent to 6 percent, the poll said. The black vote plunged from 13 percent to 4 percent. Whites accounted for three-quarters of the voters, up from 64 percent in 1998. The low turnout among minorities, who tend to vote Democratic, kept the governor's race close, DiCamillo said. ... Latino voter support for Davis slid from 83 percent four years ago to 71.5 percent, the Velasquez exit poll said. The!
Times poll showed 65 percent of Latinos voted for Davis and 24 percent voted for Republican candidate Bill Simon. ...
Freedom Drive Heads for D.C.
The New York Times and PBS won't like this at all: Tax protester Bob Schulz's We The People organization is scheduled to arrive Thursday in Washington to air grievances about the federal income tax, the war powers clauses, the USA Patriot Act and the Federal Reserve. A convoy, which left San Francisco on Friday, was scheduled to be in Indianapolis today, arrive Wednesday in Frederick, Md., hit Washington at 8 a.m. Thursday and drive around the Capitol until 11 a.m. A rally in the National Mall is scheduled from noon until 4 p.m. Scheduled speakers include former U.S. ambassador Alan Keyes, law professors and former IRS agents.
P.C.-Crazed Los Angeles Censors WWII Movie
The left-wing thought police in Los Angeles are censoring a U.S.-Japanese movie about Toyko's attack on Pearl Harbor because it might "offend" someone. "Veterans and museum members say it's simply a case of political correctness run amok," the San Pedro Daily Breeze reported today after L.A. bureaucrats refused to let the city-owned Warner Grand Theatre show the 1970 movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!" The screening was to be a fund-raiser for Fort MacArthur Military Museum.
Corporations Sued by Apartheid Victims
A lawsuit launched Tuesday against several international banks and U.S. corporations alleges that financial support of and business deals with the apartheid government in South Africa from 1960 to 1994 was "encouraging and furthering the abuses" of the racist regime. Brought by the law offices of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll on behalf of the South African Khulumani Support Group and 84 direct victims of apartheid, the lawsuit names Citigroup, the largest financial institution in the United States, as well as Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse. The suit also names J.P. Morgan Chase, Ford Motor Company, IBM, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands, and a host of other international banks and corporations. "Each of those industries, in their own right, had participated in apartheid," said Attorney Michael Hausfeld, who worked on successful litigation during the 1990's against Swiss banks that held assets belonging to Jewish vict!
ims stolen by Nazis during the Holocaust.
[Hmmm -- should the victims of communism should do the same - or wouldn't that be a political correct lawsuit?]
BOHICA: Congress Delays Debate on Government Spending
Congressional members have agreed to keep the government operating at current funding levels until January and then pass an omnibus spending bill that covers the 11 unfinished spending bills for various parts of government. The continuing resolution - the seventh this year - will run through Jan. 11, 2003. The 108th Congress convenes on Jan. 7 and its first order of business will be to seek passage of an omnibus bill for the remainder of the year. This will clear up the fiscal year 2003 budget in time for Congress to receive the fiscal year 2004 budget in February. House Appropriations Committee spokesman John Scofield said that no one is certain which numbers will be used when the omnibus bill is negotiated. The Senate spending numbers are roughly $9 billion to $13 billion more than the House.
MI: Cops to Ask Drivers Their Citizenship
A federal program to randomly check cars in a search for terrorists and illegal immigrants was being brought to Michigan, home of the largest concentration of Arabs in America. Starting Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents at the random checkpoints will ask passengers their citizenship and will have leeway to ask a host of follow-up questions. ... New York, Vermont and New Hampshire are among the northern border areas that already have similar programs in place, said Mario Villarreal, a Border Patrol spokesman. Officials also set up a similar program in northwest Washington state last weekend, he said. The practice of checkpoints is common in southern border states such as Texas and California. Michigan is home to about 350,000 Arab-Americans, more on a percentage basis than any other state. The population is concentrated in southeastern Michigan.
National sales tax gains momentum
Experts, lawmakers claim it would promote growth, be simpler
New York Wine Law Struck Down
A law banning out-of-state wineries from directly shipping their products to New York consumers is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. ... The New York law, similar to laws in 29 other states, requires that imported liquors be distributed only through licensed wholesalers and retailers to ensure accountability and responsibility and that taxes are paid. ... Berman found the state law to be discriminatory since New York allows in-state wineries to ship directly to New York consumers. ... He added that the New York law "constitutes a cut and dry example of direct discrimination against interstate commerce." Berman noted that the state acknowledged during oral arguments that "economic protectionism was the core purpose of the exceptions." ...
Walter Williams: The 'Great Generation'?
The American generation who suffered through the Great Depression and defeated the tyrannical designs that Adolf Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo Hideki had for the world has often been called "the great generation." Will history see it that way? Let's look at it, but first start with a couple of statements from two truly great Americans. In 1794, Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees. James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." James Madison, you'll recall, is the acknowledged father of the Constitution, and he couldn't find constitutional authority for spending "on the objects of benevolence." Your congressman might say, "Madison was all wrong; after all, there's the 'general welfare' clause." Here's what Madison had to say about that: "With respect to the!
two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." Thomas Jefferson echoed similar sentiments saying, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated." When the great generation was born, Congress spent only three percent of the GDP. Today, as the great generation dies off, Congress spends over a quarter of the GDP. There is no constitutional authority for at least three-quarters of that spending.
Thomas Sowell: Whither Republicans?
Even in defeat, Democrats can console themselves that they still have a lock on minority votes in general and black votes in particular. Moreover, given the demographic realities, minority voters are going to be a growing percentage of all voters in the years ahead. The passage of time alone will rescue the Democrats -- if the Republicans do nothing about it. The big question is: What should they do about it? Those Republicans who have in the past tried to urge their party to seek more black votes have typically been moderate or liberal Republicans, and they have essentially tried to offer blacks and other minorities something like what the Democrats have offered them -- government-financed goodies of one sort or another. The problem with this approach is that Democrats will always be better Democrats than Republicans can be. Republicans are not even credible when they try to act like Democrats. Moreover, there is no need for Republicans to go through this pretense, becaus!
e they can offer things that Democrats cannot possibly offer. One of the most important keys to the further advancement of blacks is their younger generation's getting a decent education, which many cannot get in today's public schools. Democrats are so dependent on teachers' unions that they cannot possibly offer vouchers, for example.
Paul Craig Roberts: Costly immigration
What does immigration cost us? At a recent debate in Arlington, Va., Harvard professor George Borjas said economists put the net cost of immigration at $70 billion a year. He noted, however, that the cost is not evenly distributed. Some communities are heavily impacted, with swollen welfare budgets and hospitals on the brink of bankruptcy. Immigration is estimated to cost Californians $1,300 per household annually in additional taxes. A different view was expressed by Cato Institute libertarians. Steve Moore argued that immigration is a form of reverse foreign aid that invigorates the United States with "new blood." Libertarians also see open borders as a freedom issue and value unrestricted immigration as a rare example of minimal government. Both in terms of believing that the cost of immigration is economic and in associating immigration with more freedom, the debate has shortcomings. A strong case can be made that the price we pay for Third World immigration is our fre!
edom. Consider the case of Manistee, Mich., housewife Janice Barton, who was convicted and jailed for using the word "spics" in a private conversation with her mother. ... Barton expressed an annoyance, hardly a criminal action. Yet a Hispanic off-duty deputy sheriff overheard the private remark and noted down her car license, and Barton was arrested and convicted for committing a "hate crime." ... On Nov. 1, a Michigan appeals court reversed Barton's conviction. The reversal, however, was on the very narrow grounds that Barton was convicted for "conduct she could not reasonably have known was criminal." Note that the appeals court did not say that in America the Constitution guarantees free speech and that no American under any circumstances can ever be arrested, charged and convicted for expressing his or her thoughts and feelings privately to another person. ... What is the explanation for the Orwellian experiences of native-born Americans? Is it the massive immigration of !
Third World peoples, every one of whom has been declared by federal civil rights enforcers to be a privileged "preferred minority" (an official designation) by virtue of skin color? ...
Anti-self-defense Australia: Labor pledges more police, stations
A second-term Labor Government will spend $263 million to recruit 600 extra police and build 68 new police stations, as Premier Steve Bracks yesterday promised to ensure Victoria remained Australia's safest state. Launching the first part of Labor's law and order policy, Mr Bracks said the 600 police would be recruited over four years, at a cost of $125 million. After adding 800 police during its first term, Mr Bracks said Labor's promise of a further 600 would bring police numbers to a record high of 10,900. "We are now the safest state in Australia. Our crime rate is 20 per cent below that of the national average and we've done that by having extra police on the beat," Mr Bracks said. But the Liberal Party, which has promised to add 1050 police if elected, yesterday dismissed Labor's police policy as an "insult to Victorians". Liberal police spokesman Kim Wells said violent crime had risen by 24.7 per cent under Labor and that its promise of 600 new police "fell short of!
everybody's expectations". "Senior police sources have told me that they are 220 police short right now to fill existing police stations," Mr Wells said. "So what I would like to know is how many of their proposed new stations will be unmanned?"
Denmark: Hospitals kick out racism
Patients at the country's hospitals should no longer be able to choose a Danish instead of a foreign doctor. As a result of a recent incident at Gentofte County hospital, when a young neo-Nazi refused to be treated by an Iranian doctor, a number of hospitals have now issued rulings stating that patients who discriminate racially will not be treated - unless in an acute emergency.. After receiving widespread criticism, management at Gentofte have promised to abide by the new guidelines.
Between Iraq and a Hard Place
All together now, class, in a loud clear voice, "Saddam Hussein is not a nice man". Do we all understand this? OK. ... Our leaders are using the excuse that he MAY use weapons that he MAY have. So that justifies the first totally unprovoked American attack on another nation? So what's next, arresting citizens because they MIGHT want to hurt one of our leaders? ... Like the bumper stickers, I love America, it's the government I fear. A patriot loves his country. A nationalist loves his government. I despise this government. Personally, if enemy forces try to invade this country, I will fight them in the streets with everything I can muster, that's providing that the government hasn't confiscated all our firearms. And this is the crux of this whole problem. People throughout the world love, respect and admire the United States. They say it all the time. It's our government they hate. If we want to inspire another generation in the Middle East to hate us, there will be no sur!
er way than to commence this action against Iraq. The excuses that we give will not matter to the mother holding her dead child in her arms. She will only know that the screaming jets, receding in the skies, toward the distant horizon, are American. How do you think she will feel? How do you think the child's relatives and the family's friends will feel? How do you think they will react? ...
CA: State legislators must face economic reality
As California's new government takes shape for its trip to Sacramento in December, both Gov. Gray Davis and legislators need to shake up their thinking about the state's problems, especially the deficit hole of up to $20 billion for the next fiscal year, 2003-04.
Landmark Expands NEA Monitoring to All 50 States
Teachers Union Affiliates to Face Intense Scrutiny Over Political Activities
Landmark Legal Foundation announced today that it has included the political activities and expenditures of every National Education Association (NEA) state affiliate in its ongoing efforts to monitor the union's compliance with federal tax, election and labor reporting laws. The announcement signals a major expansion of Landmark's five-year old NEA Accountability Project. "It seems that NEA's state affiliates have no more respect for federal law than their national union," explained Landmark President Mark R. Levin. "In state after state throughout this last election cycle, NEA affiliates appear to have loaned union employees to run and work in campaigns, used tax-exempt, members' dues to post political advertising on websites in support of specific candidates, hold candidate rallies, and hand out campaign literature and signs. Only a handful of affiliates appear to have made any effort to segregate their political expenditures from their general revenue."
Johann Opitz <email@example.com> RKBA!
"Throughout recorded history, without exception, it has been the sole accomplishment of organized government to deprive their populations of liberty and of their property." -- John C. Calhoun