Saturday, December 12, 2015

What's on the council agenda for Dec. 15th? Gun shows at the Fair grounds.

This really should be a short meeting. There is not much of interest on the agenda.  I thought the last meeting would be short but I had overlooked that the Council was adopting new Council rules that meeting and debate over those new rules was what made for such a lengthy meeting. By the way, for those who may want to familiarize yourself with the rules of the Council that were adopted last meeting, you can find them here. The rules will not of interest to the average person, but for citizen activist, lobbyist, or others who follow the Council closely, knowing the rules under which the Council operates makes more sense of why the Council does some of the things they do.

You can get your own copy of the Council agenda at this link and the Council staff analysis at the this link. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on; with your own copy of the agenda and analysis, the meeting will still be boring but not really, really boring.

There is only one mayoral appointee on the agenda for confirmation and that is an appointment to the Beer Board.  There are no bills on public hearing. There are only eight resolutions on the agenda and all are on "consent" which means that instead of being considered individually, they will all be lumped together and passed with a single vote. However, if a resolution fails to get unanimous support in the committee to which it is assigned then it comes off of consent. Also, any member from the floor may have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded or he may ask a bill be pulled off consent and considered separately.

There is one resolution, that I expect to come off of consent and to generate discussion and that is  RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-76.   This resolution urges the Fair Board to continue allowing gun shows at the fair grounds.  On Tuesday December 1, the Fair Board voted to discontinue gun shows at the fair grounds after the pending gun show of the December 4th and 5th weekend. The Fair board was supposedly going to develop new guidelines to improve safety at the Fairgrounds and then would reconsider allowing gun shows if exhibitors would agree to the new rules.  No one really believed the Fair Board would ever allow gun shows to return to the Fair grounds.

Bill Goodman's Gun and Knife show has been operating at the Fairgrounds for 35 years and there is no evidence that illegal gun sales have ever occurred there or even that a gun or knife purchased there has ever been used in a criminal act. There are some felons who have stated that the gun shows at the Fair grounds is where they obtained their gun, but one may surmise they did not want to admit to an additional crime of stealing a firearm so those admission from felons should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Only licensed dealers are permitted to sell firearms at the fairground gun show. Under current law, as I understand it, if you as an individual sell a gun to another individual, you do not have to be a licensed firearm dealer and you do not have to perform a background check on the person to whom you are selling. That is what is known as the "gun show loophole."  However, at the Nashville Gun and Knife Show only licensed dealers were allowed to exhibit and sell guns.

I know this decision to ban gun shows at the fair grounds is being applauded by the progressives in our community, but I wonder how much of that is driven by a sincere believe that gun shows contribute to gun deaths.  I believe that there is a certain progressive snobbishness at play that does not want Nashville to be welcoming to people who like things like flea markets, stock car races, or gun shows. Until country music became the most listened to format and a major source of income for Nashville, the elites were embarrassed by country music also. I tend to think the opposition to gun shows may be motivated more by a sociopolitical class prejudice rather than a gun control motivation.  I believe there is a certain desire for Nashville to appear progressive and enlightened and the redneck element should be deprived of outlets to express themselves. Also, the Gun and Knife shows bring in a quarter of million dollars a year to the struggling fair grounds. Part of the effort to end the gun shows may be an effort to deprive the fair grounds of revenue in hopes that it will eventually be operating so deep in the red that there will be greater reason to close the fairgrounds and sell off the property.

After the Fair Board's decision to ban future gun shows, there was a storm of protest.  Mayor Barry who is a gun control advocate disavowed being involved in the action of the Fair Board and made non-committal statements neither condemning nor approving the actions of the Fair Board and she asked the legal department to review the actions.  The legal department has come back and said the  shows scheduled for next month should continue to take place. Bill Goodman's Gun and Knife Shows are scheduled at the fairgrounds for Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, and Jan. 30 and Jan. 31.

Given this temporary reprieve for the gun show, some may argue that this resolution is not needed and  may ask that it be deferred. I hope that does not happen and the Council moves forward with this resolution.

There are nine bills on First Reading. Bills on First Reading are passed as a group and not deliberated by the Council until after they pass First Reading. I don't read them until after they pass First Reading.

There are only six bills on Second Reading. The only one I find of much interest is BILL NO. BL2015-67 which would create the Gulch Central Business Improvement District. A special district like this may impose additional taxes on properties in the district to provide extra benefits to that district. There are two other entities like this already in Nashville. Before requesting the establishment of an improvement district, the majority of those owning property in the district must approve the creation of this entity. This will probably sail though without opposition and I have not heard of any opposition.

There are 16 bills on Third Reading and none of them are of interest. Most of them are authorizing the acquiring of easement or the abandonment of easements.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Fairgrounds gun shows to continue into next year

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Political correctness is going to get us all killed. How an investigation that could of stopped the San Bernardino terrorist attack was shut down.

While we must not allow our outrage over terrorist attacks to lead to violating our principles and violating the constitutional rights of others, at the same time we must not let political correctness cause us to disarm in the face of terrorism. A whistleblower reports that in 2012 an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center opened an investigation into a radical  Sunni Islamic group but the investigation was shut down by the State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties because the federal government did not want to profile Islamic groups (link). The group being investigated had ties to the mosque attended by the San Bernardino terrorist.

This is nuts! It is not bigotry to profile. It is rational; it is logical. You fish where the fish are. When boarding an air plane, the old white grandma from Nashville, does not deserve the same scrutiny as as the twenty-something Mid-eastern looking guy with an accent. To investigate a group does not violate civil liberties of members of the group. Police look for people who fit a "profile" all the time in trying to solve crimes.  I also think we should have paid informers and undercover FBI agents in every mosque in America. You are more likely to find a terrorist plot being hatched by an Islamic group than a Baptist group.

When the FBI brought down the Klan, they did it by having paid informers and by having undercover FBI agents infiltrate Klan groups. Not every member of the KKK was a terrorist or violated laws, but we did not think it improper to investigate and infiltrate the KKK.  We properly did not worry about profiling people who joined the Klan.  Had we taken the view that we must never profile, Klan terror might have lasted a lot longer. I am not comparing followers of the Islamic faith with membership in the KKK, but the idea of focusing an investigation on a group that is more likely to have in their midst those likely to commit crime is simply logical. Profile! Profile! Profile!

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The inclusionary housing stakeholders meeting of 12-9-2015

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Inclusionary zoning study completed. "A quasi mandatory program."

On Wednesday the Planning Commission released their recommendations for new affordable housing policies.  According to The Tennessean and other sources, the inclusionary zoning recommendations developed by the Planning Commission avoid the most onerous characteristics of most inclusionary zoning.  For starters, thanks to a State law, Metro cannot impose rent control.  This was clear from the very first and anyone who wanted to know, knew that back in July 2015 when the Council directed the Planning Commission to develop an inclusionary zoning ordinance to present to the Council. Since State law prohibits rent control, a mandatory inclusionary zoning ordinance addressing rental property was out of the question from the very first.

What the Planning Commission has developed is a recommendation that relies on incentives for developers to build affordable housing. I much prefer incentives to punitive requirements, but incentives can be disguised punishment for those who do not get the incentives. The lead consultant on the project is quoted in The Tennessean as saying, “To some, this recommendation could be characterized as an incentive zoning ordinance, but to others, it might appear stronger. For us practitioners and researchers who talk to a lot of people around the country, some might call this a ‘quasi mandatory program.’"

The primary incentive appears to be bonus incentives. As an example of how an "incentive" program can really be mandatory is how it is applied to density.  In order to build downtown a certain amount of density may be necessary to make the development feasible. If in order to to be permitted to build to that density, you must build a certain number of affordable units, then the incentive density bonus program is not really voluntary but mandatory. 

I should be clear when we talk about "affordable housing" that people know what we are talking about. We are not talking about public housing or Section 8 housing, nor are we talking about housing the homeless.  "Affordable housing" means housing that is priced so that it does not take more than a certain percentage of a family's income. Usually that percentage is 30%. So, affordable to whom one might ask? According to the recommendations of the Planning Commission the affordable housing units for-sale under their proposal would be reserved for families whose income is 80 percent of Nashville’s area median income and for rental projects, it would be 60 percent. It is unclear what family size this applies to.

In Nashville 80% of the Area Median income for a family of two is $42,800.  An affordable monthly house payment for this family would be $1070 a month. That amount of house payment including the escrow for taxes and insurance would finance a house that would sell for about $175,000. Today we are experiencing record low interest rates. If rates go up to 5% that would finance a house costing about $150,000.  $175,000 is not a shabby house, but if developers are building condos that sell for $350,000 to a million dollars, that is way below market.

According to the Planning Commission proposal, a developer willing to build for-sale projects of five units or more in the urban zoning overlay could net $20,000 for "each affordable" unit.  Rather than accept the $20,000 incentive, most developers would prefer to build the more expensive units. This incentive alone will probably result in few affordable units.  For areas outside the urban core, the incentive is only $10,000. While $20,000 may not be sufficient to entice a builder to build affordable units, the density bonus may. This is just a supposition of how it may apply, but if by current zoning a builder can only build 12 stories high but if he agrees to build x number of affordable units, he can build 24 stories high, then that is such an incentive that it becomes in effect a mandatory requirement.

While inclusionary zoning may sound good, the unintended consequences may be that overall fewer units get built. The same developer looking to build in Nashville, may simply choose to develop in another city where requirements are less stringent and where he can earn more money.  Less development, means less housing supply and more pressure on housing prices and even less property that is "affordable." This proposal needs to be looked at very carefully, if it really is a mandatory program, the State should intervene to prohibit for-sale price controls.

I will post more on this topic as more is known.  If there is someone who is knowledgeable of this topic and what Metro is proposing, please submit it to me for publication. To read The Tennessean's article follow this link.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

UT political correctness czar loses web posting privileges. I am not placated.

Following the University of Tennessee's ban on Christmas parties, Jesus, Santa, and eggnog, there was push back from state legislators and the governor and momentum was building to defund the Office of Diversity and Inclusion or to get someone fired as a result of the offensive UT policy. UT is trying to do damage control and has removed from their website the memo that caused all the furor.  Also, UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek has taken away from the Director of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity the authority to post to the University Website without such post being preapproved by another designated authority.

This is a positive development and I would say those who were properly outraged should be placated, if this was the first outrageous action from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, but it was not. The Office of Inclusion and Diversity should still be defunded.

Below is the new reworded memo: 

As we enter the holiday season, please be mindful of the rich diversity of our campus community. Recognizing a wide variety of cultures and beliefs, we should note that people choose to celebrate in different ways and on varying days of the year.

While there are many joyous occasions and special opportunities to gather, employee participation in any celebration should always be voluntary. While it is inevitable that differences will appear in how people celebrate, everyone is encouraged to have an open mind and to approach every situation with sensitivity.

We are grateful for the many people, cultures, and viewpoints of our campus. We should celebrate our diversity not only during the holidays but also on every day of the year.
That's not bad. It is much better than the policy memo that said, "Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise," and the no-eggnog clause, "Refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture."  So, while this is not bad, I would like for UT to just wish everyone a "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

Since UT has removed the offensive memo, you can follow this link to read it:
UT bans Christmas. Do not disguise a Chirstams Party as a "holiday party." Baby Jesus and Santa banned

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FDR Was Trump on Steroids, Liberal icon targeted Germans, Italians, and Japanese in wartime.

by Jeffery Lord, American Spectator, 12,8,2015 - So Donald Trump saying that there should be a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” makes him some sort of crazy, dangerous guy?

If liberals — and even, astonishingly — some Republicans believe this? Wow. What in the world to then make of President Franklin D. Roosevelt? FDR, if one takes in the current wisdom, was Trump on steroids.

For those who read history, and alas, perhaps lots of people who should do not, there was FDR in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the U.S. into war with Germany, Italy, and Japan doing the following things that would make Donald Trump look like a nerdy weakling.

Germany, Italy and the Japanese were the Muslims of the day in December, 1941. And FDR responded as follows, first with the Germans in presidential proclamation 2526 that was titled as being targeted to …this is a direct quote — “Aliens: Germans.” And what of those “Alien” Germans? FDR demanded that

… all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being of the age of fourteen years and upward, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed as alien enemies. The President is authorized in any such event, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, toward the aliens who become so liable; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which are found necessary in the premises and for the public safety. (link)
My Comment: 
FDR is no role model for those who support liberty

I think the author's point is worth sharing but it does not persuade me that Donald Trump is right in wanting to stop entry into this country of everyone of the Islamic faith. I want those who idealize FDR to be aware of this however, but not to make the point that what Trump is proposing must be OK because it is the same thing FDR did, but to show what evil was perpetrated by that liberal hero FDR.  FDR went much further than Trump has proposed, however.

By executive order, unchallenged by Congress, FDR ordered the internment of between 110,000 to 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who lived on the West Coast. They were moved to camps in the interior of the country. Sixty-two percent of them were American citizens. They were not convicted of any crimes; they were relocated simply because they were Japanese.  Instead of using FDR to again justify bigotry, maybe FDR's image needs to get the Nathan Bedford Forrest treatment and buildings named after him  need to have their name changed, and street names need to be renamed, and the FDR statues need to topple. FDR is not an example to emulate. He is an example of the evil we should avoid.

By being forcible relocated, Japanese Americans lost their freedom and of course their jobs and then of course lost their businesses and their homes and their belongings. Thanks to the census bureau the government knew where all of these people of Japanese ancestry were.  If I were a Muslim American, I would probably lie to the census bureau and claim to be a Christian when completing the census. I think it is morally OK to lie to the government.

It was not until 1980 that the government examined our World War II policy of putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act, which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 to each individual camp survivor. The legislation admitted that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

I am not for doing nothing about the threat of radical Islam. I am for temporarily restricting Syrian immigration. Those against a restriction on Syrian immigration claim that all of these Syrian refugees are well vetted but that is obviously bogus. There is no way to vet them if you can not do a background check or access records. They are checked against a list of known terrorist and interviewed. In addition to the possibility that radical Islamist are mixed in with the refugees, there is a danger that some of those who arrive to our shores will be radicalized once they are here.

I am also for closely monitoring the Muslim community and look for incidents of terrorist planning or attempts to radicalize American Muslims.  I do not want the government doing illegal break-ins or wire taps, but I hope FBI agents are infiltrating mosque across America. We should level the same scrutiny toward the Muslim American community as we did the pro-Nazi American Bund and American First organizations during the World War II era, or the pro-Communist and Communist and New Left movements during the Cold War, or as we did in the effort to bring down the Ku Klux Klan during the civil rights era. I would hope we have paid informants and agents as members of every mosque congregation in America. And I hope we are reading every Facebook post and website that might possibly have connection to radical Islam. So, I am not for naively assuming that radical Islam is not a threat. I am not for doing nothing.

On the other hand however, we do not want to let bigotry and war hysteria lead us to again violate our basic values and ignore the constitution.  We must resist the call to consider every person of the Muslim faith as the enemy.  We must resist the call to do things like close all mosque in America. We must resist those impulses that would lead us to treat Muslim Americans the same way we did Japanese Americans in World War II.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Bill Bernstein announces candidacy for TN House 50th District

Bill Bernstein
Press release, NASHVILLE, TN- Today Bill Bernstein announces his candidacy for the Tennessee House of Representatives seat in the 50th District for the Republican Party. The district includes Bellevue, Joelton, and Goodlettsville. He made the following statement:
I decided to run because conservative voters deserve principled conservatives in office. I am dedicated to economic prosperity through free markets. I support personal freedom from government coercion in people's religious and personal lives. And I will work to protect Tennesseans from an intrusive federal government.

Republicans win at the ballot, and the people win, when we go back to core values of lower taxes, less government, and greater protection of civil rights. These policies have been proven over time to increase wages, improve standards of living, and raise the quality of life. Restricting choices in virtually every sphere of life always and everywhere leads to worse outcomes. We need to push back against those wishing to limit personal and economic freedoms.

Voters in DIstrict 50 deserve a representative who can work with the Republican leadership in the House to accomplish goals. I believe the positive contacts I have made with conservatives in the legislature will allow me to carry this agenda along for the good of District 50 voters, and for all Tennesseans.

A decade of experience in customer service has taught me the importance of giving people prompt attention and good answers.
Bill has been a licensed firearms dealer for nearly a decade and has been widely quoted in both local and national media on firearms issues. He was instrumental in getting the thumbprint requirement for gun purchases repealed in 2009.

Bill Bernstein and his family have lived in Bellevue for over 15 years. He received his BA (magna cum laude) from Vanderbilt University. While there he endowed the Bernstein Prize in Latin Declamation in honor of his father. The contest is held annually. He also pursued degrees in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UNC-Chapel Hill, and University of Pennsylvania. He is a business owner and entrepreneur. He and his wife, Heddy, have been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children who were graduated from Metro public schools, and a third son who is a special needs student at Westmeade Elementary.

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(more) Alexander, Corker, Haslam, Ron Ramsey, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Marco Rubio reject Trump's call to ban Muslims

TN Sen. Beavers agrees with Trump's Muslim ban

"For him to suggest banning all Muslims, I don't have a problem with that," said Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. (link)

TN GOP Chair Ryan Haynes says Trumps Call to ban Muslims "outlandish"

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes blasted his party's presidential frontrunner. Haynes, who recently vacated a seat in the state legislature to take over the state party, said Trump's comments have no place in the Republican party or American politics.

"Demanding that our borders be secure or raising legitimate questions about our screening process is one thing, but a wholesale ban on a religious basis is just wrong. This isn't a conservative proposal; it’s an outlandish idea that goes against American exceptionalism," Haynes said. (link)

Alexander rejects Trump's call to ban Muslims

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is rejecting Donald Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

“The idea of a religious test is not consistent with my idea of what it means to be an American, and is not consistent with the principle of the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the Maryville Republican said in a statement. (link)

Corker says Trump comment counter to the values and principles of our great nation

Corker, a Chattanooga Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that while he has made “a conscious effort” to stay out of the 2016 presidential race, “these recent comments are completely counter to the values and principles of our great nation.” (link)

Haslam sounds off on Trump comments on Muslims

Gov. Bill Haslam sounded off on controversial anti-Muslim comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying they run counter to “core” American values, after a Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation event in Cool Springs on Tuesday morning.

"America was founded from the very beginning based on religious freedom and a lot of people came to our shores because they wanted freedom to practice religion the way they wanted to," Haslam said. (link)

Ron Ramsey says I would not favor a religious test

Ron Ramsey Facebook post, Dec, 8, 2015- If the last few months have taught us anything, it is that America needs to get serious about border security -- and quickly. While I would not favor an explicitly religious test, I do think it is time to place a moratorium on immigration from a long list of countries with ties to terrorism.

The United States has been the most welcoming nation in history by a large margin. But a nation without secure borders is no nation at all. We are at war with radical Islam and everyone outside of the Obama administration knows it.

It is time to seriously rethink our visa, refugee resettlement and immigration policies. It is time to press the pause button.

Republican Presidential Candidates

Jeb Bush condemned Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the United States saying calling bed Trump as "unhinged."
New Jersey governor Chris Christie said Trump's comments reflected "a ridiculous position and one that won't even be productive." ....
Ohio governor John Kasich, one of the more vocal critics of Trump, was also quick to reject his proposal. "This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States," Kasich said.
Florida senator Marco Rubio .."I disagree with Donald Trump's latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together," Rubio wrote. "The next President better be somebody who can unite our country to face the great challenges of the 21st Century." (link)

  Donald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.

(CNN)Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Monday for barring all Muslims from entering the United States.

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," a campaign press release said.
Trump, who has previously called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S., made his latest controversial call in a news release. His message comes in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by suspected ISIS sympathizers and the day after President Barack Obama asked the country not to "turn against one another" out of fear. (link)

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Monday, December 07, 2015

Sen. Dickerson appointed Chairman of the Senate Finance Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee

Steve Dickerson
Press release, (NASHVILLE, TN), December 7, 2015 — State Senator Steven Dickerson (R-Nashville) has been appointed Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee. The appointment of the powerful subcommittee was made by Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) as the General Assembly prepares to convene the 2016 legislative session on January 12.

“This subcommittee was created to ensure that agencies of state government are accountable in reporting the appropriate financial information to our Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee,” said Chairman McNally. “This oversight is of tremendous importance in ensuring that we have all the information that we need in order to make the most effective budget decisions with the hard-earned dollars provided by taxpayers.”

The Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee has the responsibility of considering all measures dealing with the appropriation of state funds and has oversight regarding legislation pertaining to bonds, pensions, investments or indebtedness. Other members of the committee’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee include Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon), Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), Senator Thelma Harper (D-Nashville) and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson (R-Hixson).

“Senator Dickerson has a tremendous financial acumen that will help this subcommittee weed through the large amount of reports that we receive each year,” added Speaker Watson. “This will help ensure that state spending is both transparent and done in the most resourceful and highly effective manner.”

“All of the members of this committee bring much experience to the table,” added McNally. “We are looking forward to receiving the information they will provide to help us do the most critically important job that our Legislature is charged with – construction of a state budget that best serves the people of Tennessee.”

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It's a Christmas Party

Please RSVP to Tony Roberts at or Dan Davis at

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IRS Power To Revoke Passports Signed Into Law.

Dec 4, 2015, Forbes - The passport provision is now official, as President Obama signed the 5-year

infrastructure spending Bill. It adds a new section 7345 to the Internal Revenue Code. It is part of H.R. 22 – Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, the “FAST Act.” Why are passport covered in the tax code, you might ask? The title of the new section is “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.” The idea goes back to 2012, when the Government Accountability Office reported on the potential for using the issuance of passports to collect taxes.

It was controversial then, but this time sailed through, slipped into the massive highway funding bill, passed here. The section on passports begins on page 1,113. The joint explanatory statement is here, beginning on page 38. The law says the State Department can revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as having a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000. Administrative details are scant. It could mean no new passport and no renewal. It could even mean the State Department will rescind existing passports. (link)

My Comment:
 This is really frighting. 
When the government prohibits citizens from leaving the country, we are a big step closer to no longer being free. People arrested on suspicion of a crime have to post a bond to avoid being locked up in order to insure their appearance in court and they often have to surrender their passport.  For everyone else, they are free to leave the country whenever they want. This is a major change in our status as free people. Under this law, there is no hearing to revoke a passport; there is no due process. Under this law, if you owe the government $50,000 or more, the IRS can simply have your passport revoked.  The next logical step is that you can not leave the country without paying debt you owe the government, such as student loans, the value of your free education, the subsidy on your FHA guaranteed mortgage, or your share of the national debt.

Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, Jews were only allowed to migrate if they paid for the benefits they had received from the state. We are headed in that same direction. I fear we are on our way to becoming a police state. I try to resist conspiracy theories and being paranoid. I try to not be swayed by slippery slope arguments.  I tend to see less black and white and more shades of gray in political matters and see changes in public polices as the ebb and flow of politics, but it is harder and harder not to conclude the trends point in one direction.

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Sunday, December 06, 2015

We really need to work on those math skills

12/6/2015 Kroger ad in The Tennessean

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