Thursday, March 19, 2009
  Just stop this crap.

Today the brand-R talking point heads are full of delusional nonsense about how punishing AIG would violate the "constitutional" prohibitions against ex-post-facto laws and bills of attainder; and nonsense about breaking contracts.

This jabber only shows their own total ignorance. Tax law has been packed with retroactive provisions for decades, and tax law has been packed with provisions aimed specifically at one company or individual for decades. There's a whole cottage industry of lawyers who know how to draft a paragraph so it sounds general and universal but can only apply to one company.** Your precious Sultan Bush passed a retroactive deduction just a couple of years ago. But that was OK because it was your dear Sultan. And the Feds are never afraid to break a contract when they decide retroactively that it violates some idiotic discrimination provision, or just because they don't like it.

I'm goddamn tired of this shit.

1. The constitution hasn't been binding since 1803 and has been turned upside down since 1953, so there's no point in complaining that X is unconstitutional, no matter what X is. You might as well complain that X violates the Code of Hammurabi.

2. If you want to be seen as a leader or a thinker, you have to distinguish between actions and individuals. You can't say that a retroactive tax is angelic when My Dear Sultan does it but satanic when That Awful Socialist does it. Either it's good or it's bad, regardless of who does it.

This particular brand of delusion may make the dwindling Brand-R Cheerleaders happy, but it's purely disgusting to the growing crowd of Americans who don't adhere to either team. It only makes Obama look good, despite his increasingly apparent weakness, his unwillingness to take strong and necessary actions.

= = = = =

If the Republicans were really serious about restoring the rule of law, they would stop chanting Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes and instead join up with Senator Cornyn of Texas. Cornyn held a conference this week, shown on C-Span, dealing with lawsuit reform. Cornyn brought in witnesses to illustrate (1) how the Texas tort reform has restored access to medical care in that state (2) how much we lose directly from lawsuits each year (3) how much we lose culturally and indirectly. The direct losses are on the same scale as the Bush and Obama stimulus programs; the indirect losses are incalculable.

This would be an ideal crusade for a party that claims to be pro-American, and in practical terms ideal for Republicans because the trial lawyers exclusively support Dem campaigns. Controlling lawsuits would dramatically improve our economy and our culture. It would dramatically increase freedom for businesses, parents, teachers, Christians and plain old humans. It would save lives by making medical care more affordable. It would remove power from Communists. And it would do all this without ANY new spending or taxes.

So what's the downside? Damned if I know. I can only surmise that Republicans and conservatives are absolutely utterly insane and brain-damaged. Like an unfortunate stroke patient, they are stuck on one single meaningless phrase.

Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes Zero Zip Nada Taxes


= = = = =

** Case in point: The Philly Inquirer did a series about the many "bills of attainder" in Reagan's 1986 tax reform act.

"...the 1986 act, proclaimed as a model of fairness by congressional tax writers, actually contained the largest number of tax giveaways in the 75-year history of the federal income tax. The special deals exempted select individuals and businesses from certain provisions in the new act that all other taxpayers were compelled to comply with - an act that raised taxes for millions of middle-class individuals and
families."
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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