• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Today, 02:15 PM
    Riiiight... nominate someone who willfully disobeys court orders and urges state officials to ignore a binding Supreme Court decision. Even the Senate Republicans aren't crazy enough to go for that.
    102 replies | 1452 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-13-2017, 08:21 AM
    If you want to see a real mouth breather, check out the Moore spokesperson who was corrected on his claim that an elected official has to swear on a Bible. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/roy-moore-ted-crockett-muslims-bible_us_5a306188e4b07ff75afe9367 I'm no fan of the Huffington Post, but it's the only site I found that has the audio of the exchange.
    316 replies | 4593 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-12-2017, 10:52 AM
    Of course it's a religious test. You and Moore are making the unwarranted assumption that all Muslims, and Senator Ellison in particular, wish to impose Sharia law on the country. It's reminiscent of the objections that some had to electing Kennedy -- that as a Catholic he would take orders from the Pope instead of abiding by the Constitution. The Founders were well aware of the possibility that some day a Muslim might be elected or appointed to a federal office (see the quote from James Iredell that I previously posted). Nevertheless, they didn't restrict the No-Religious-Test Clause to any particular faith. Moore's contempt for the rule of law was made plain when he disobeyed lawful court orders in connection with the Ten Commandments display and his attempt to block the implementation of the Obergefell decision, both of which got him removed from the Alabama Supreme Court. If Ellison is disqualified to serve in the Senate because he can't support the Constitution, Moore is doubly so.
    1207 replies | 24344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-09-2017, 05:05 PM
    It's a handy encapsulation of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses -- the government isn't to interfere with the church, and the church isn't to use the government to proselytize or to favor its particular belief. Unfortunately, too many believe that their free exercise right includes having the government use its powers to help them spread their message or otherwise suggest that their belief is the correct one. Such a view is an implicit admission that their belief isn't persuasive enough by itself, but rather needs governmental force to back it up. It never ceases to amaze me how so many believers who otherwise want the government out of their lives see no problem with the government's promoting religious beliefs (as long as it's theirs, of course).
    1207 replies | 24344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-09-2017, 11:37 AM
    Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... Amendment XIV: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. See also Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), a unanimous decision holding unconstitutional a requirement in the Maryland Constitution that all state officials profess a belief in the existence of God:
    1207 replies | 24344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-08-2017, 09:29 PM
    Which were later barred by the 14th Amendment. For those who think it's OK for the government to enshrine its preference for certain religious beliefs into law, ask yourself: would you be OK if a State granted tax exemptions for land owned by but denied it to all others?
    1207 replies | 24344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-08-2017, 09:24 PM
    It doesn't say that. If it had intended to enshrine Christianity as the official religion of the country it would have said so. Nonsense. The First Amendment prohibits the government from preventing someone from being a polytheist, idolater, or some other non-Christian faith, all in violation of the first and second commandments and various edicts in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
    1207 replies | 24344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-08-2017, 09:42 AM
    A strict constructionist wouldn't claim that Muslims shouldn't be allowed to sit in Congress; apparently Moore's copy of the Constitution doesn't contain the no-religious-test clause.
    1207 replies | 24344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-06-2017, 07:50 AM
    How in the world did someone as immensely stupid as this airhead ever get to be a professor? Oh, right...she's in the College of Education, not the Math Department. A claim whose self-contradictory nature is blatantly apparent to everyone except the idiot who uttered it.
    26 replies | 458 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-05-2017, 07:49 AM
    If it was so clear, why (a) wasn't it included in the original constitutional language, and (b) did 6 ratifying documents ask that the Constitution be amended to include the direct tax limitation?
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
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    12-04-2017, 01:32 PM
    Do you really want substantiation that none of the proposed amendments was ever adopted? Read the Constitution and see if any are there. There is one documented fact you have ignored in your end run around Article V: in listing the direct tax restriction as a proposed amendment to the Constitution, the people writing the ratification documents for certain of the States intended that the restriction be adopted in accordance with the normal amendment process. But it wasn't. Have you ever wondered why, if the people ratifying the Constitution in the States that you cited really wanted the proposed direct tax amendments, their representatives in Congress never acted on them? I know the answer: only 6 of the 13 States ratifying the Constitution expressed a desire for a further direct tax amendment, and South Carolina merely expressed a desire that direct taxes be used under certain circumstances. But the other 6 States ratified the Constitution without expressing any limitation on direct taxes. So it seems you want to circumvent Article V in two ways: you want to avoid amending the Constitution to add language that not only isn't there but that was known to not be there; and you wish to have the desires of only 54% of the States be taken into account instead of the 75% required by the Constitution. Your disdain for the Constitution is something else. The ratifying documents may be read here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/18th.asp
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-04-2017, 09:58 AM
    That's precisely what johnwk is doing. Never mind that the language of the Constitution doesn't restrict when Congress can enact a direct tax. Never mind that the people behind the ratification documents knew this and proposed amendments that would impose restrictions. Never mind that none of these proposed amendments was ever enacted. No, johnwk will just do an end run around the amendment process and stretch and distort the language of the Constitution to include restrictions that the ratifiers knew weren't there.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-03-2017, 12:39 PM
    What you are still unwilling to face is the documented fact that none of the proposals regarding direct taxation contained in the ratification documents was ever enacted into law as part of the Constitution. "Legislative intent" applies only to something that gets enacted. "Constitutional construction" applies only to something that's actually in the Constitution. Neither of these applies to the proposals you cited. Good grief, you might as well argue that Congress can't enact a capitation tax (even though the Constitution implicitly says it can) just because at least one of the ratification documents proposed such a prohibition as an amendment. Actions speak louder than words. The fact that none of the direct tax proposals was enacted should tell you something, but you're like Tommy -- deaf, dumb, and blind.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 04:49 PM
    I've already demonstrated that your "documented legislative intent" is a lie. Or didn't you realize that what you cited in the ratification documents has nothing to do with how the original written Constitution was to be interpreted? Stop making this stuff up!
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 04:23 PM
    To the contrary, I view the language of the Constitution just as it's written. You're the one who wants to stretch it by inserting a restriction in the document that isn't there. What you don't realize is that I agree with you that direct taxes should not be used in lieu of indirect taxes. But the plain fact is that there is no language in the Constitution that prohibits Congress from imposing a direct tax in the first instance. If you think there should be such a prohibition, I refer you to Article V, which you have doubtless already considered given your proposal of an amendment that you think would impose such a prohibition (but as drafted, it won't). Incidentally, I haven't checked all of the provisions of the ratification documents you cited, but it appears that several (and I strongly suspect that all of them) are taken from proposed amendments to the Constitution that the ratifying states wished to have the initial Congress consider. In other words, they have nothing to do with the proper interpretation of language of the Constitution, but are from wish lists that have no legal effect whatsoever, something the people proposing them obviously realized or else they wouldn't have proposed them as amendments.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 02:14 PM
    Like a door? Or a wall? What idiocy.
    14 replies | 412 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 11:50 AM
    Actually, it's the position that when the Constitution is unambiguous about something all one needs to do is read its plain language. It's quite clear that the Framers put only three restrictions on the federal taxing power and that they left it up to Congress to determine, subject to these restrictions, when, how, and what to tax. And you're still clueless about my interest in liberty, among a host of other things.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 08:30 AM
    The Founders were dealing with a country of 3.6 million people and 892,000 square miles. Today the country has 325 million people and 3.8 million square miles. You are making the unwarranted assumption that the Founders' intent would remain static no matter the change in circumstances. More to the point, the Founders didn't hardwire this intent into the Constitution -- they didn't restrict Congress to using direct taxes only in cases of emergencies. In fact, the Constitution contains only three explicit limits on the federal taxing power: direct taxes must be apportioned, indirect taxes must be geographically uniform, and Congress can't tax exports.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 07:58 AM
    That's what happened under the Articles of Confederation, leading to its failure.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    12-01-2017, 07:56 AM
    I'm not the only one: The only difference is that I'm not naïve enough to believe that the people will be willing to give up all the government programs necessary to pare the budget down to $150 billion.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 07:12 PM
    The primary fantasy mentioned in these posts is the notion that people will be willing to elect representatives to cut federal spending down to $150 billion (assuming that's the correct figure for imposts, duties, and excises other than income taxes). If you think the voters would stand for the elimination of Social Security, Medicare, defense, and countless other programs, you're either delusional or a complete idiot.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 07:01 PM
    I am. And so are the courts that so ruled. Not at all. Consider: a tax on the mere ownership of property can be imposed more than once -- real estate taxes, for example, are imposed each year. But a tax on the receipt of property is imposed only once. It isn't, in the sense that "direct tax" is used in the Constitution. That term has always been limited to capitations and property taxes. Many taxes are collected directly from people (inheritance taxes, carriage taxes, whiskey taxes), but that doesn't mean they're direct taxes under the Constitution.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 04:08 PM
    Just goes to show how poorly drafted the Amendment is. As it reads, the direct tax would apply to all real property, including land owned by the State, the federal government, churches, and charities, thereby making it certain that the Amendment would never be ratified. There would need to be federal assessors to value such land.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 03:54 PM
    That's not what the Amendment says. The clause "Each State shall be free to assume and pay its quota of the direct tax into the United States Treasury by a final date set by Congress" doesn't say that each State can define the tax base for its quota. You may think it does but it doesn't, unless you shoehorn that meaning into the word "assume". Look, the existing Constitution allows Congress to choose the tax base, and it has done so every time it has imposed a direct tax. Your Amendment doesn't eliminate its power to impose direct taxes in lieu of indirect taxes, nor does it eliminate Congress' power to define the tax base. If the intent of the Amendment is to make such a major change to Congress' existing taxing power, you'd be well advised to make it explicit. You also need to fix the glitch about the 10% discount, which as written will prevent the deficit from ever being eliminated.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 03:00 PM
    The song was written by Frank Loesser (who also wrote the music and lyrics for Guys and Dolls) in 1944. It was later used in an Esther Williams movie, for which Loesser received the Oscar for best original song. The Wikipedia article has an interesting comment on the lyrics, especially footnotes 4 and 5: If the original lyrics seem too offensive to the PC police, they should try the revision by Homer & Jethro and June Carter, first recorded in 1949. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfV0vF0RHeE
    27 replies | 481 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 02:22 PM
    Since under the Constitution Congress can choose the tax base for a direct tax, it could abuse its power by choosing the things to be taxed so as to favor or disfavor certain States. This observation is restricted to the House of Representatives. The Framers had no such problem with the objection when it came to the Senate, in which Delaware has a hugely disproportionate weight compared to, say, California.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 01:47 PM
    Of course they can. A tariff on, say, imported French wine will make winners out of domestic wine growers and losers out of the importers of French wine who will be forced to charge a higher price and may find that they can't compete with domestic wine (which, after all, is the whole purpose of protective tariffs). Indeed, a tax on any particular article of consumption will make losers out of the producers and sellers of such articles, because it will increase the price and therefore reduce the demand (unless the demand for the article is inelastic). There's nothing in the Amendment that says Congress can't initially specify the tax base of a direct tax. In fact, Congress has done so in every direct tax it has ever imposed (1798, 1813, 1815, 1816, and 1861) -- land, dwelling houses, and slaves (the latter weren't included in the 1861 tax). If you want the States to be able to decide how to raise their respective shares of revenue, you're going to need to add language to that effect to the Amendment. Moreover, nothing in the Amendment prohibits Congress from imposing a capitation tax, which is another way of choosing the tax base.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 08:37 AM
    Regarding representation, it's fine. Regarding taxation, it's neither brilliant nor wise, because it can lead to different tax rates for similarly situated taxpayers, as I pointed out before. Only a capitation tax with no exemptions would be a fair direct tax. Indeed. And your proposed direct tax method would suffer from the same problem.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-30-2017, 08:22 AM
    No, because Congress retains the right to choose the tax base. Even the Amendment has a default rule under which landowners are the losers if Congress has to impose a direct tax. Absolutely not. The Amendment specifically recognizes that there can be a deficit in a particular fiscal year and allows the can to be kicked down the road for an indefinite period -- reread Section 4, which says that the direct tax revenue that is to be used to erase a deficit is to be paid by the States "by a final date set by Congress", which could be years in the future. Moreover, as written Section 4 doesn't accomplish its purpose. If the direct tax is supposed to erase the deficit and if all of the States pay on time, they still get a 10% discount, which means the deficit won't be erased.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    11-29-2017, 09:17 AM
    Oh, so now the state legislatures are filled with commies, too? And yet you want them to determine how to raise the revenue that will certainly be needed to meet a direct tax quota.
    127 replies | 2304 view(s)
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We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
Erwin N. Griswold

Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
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