Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mitt Romney on guns

"As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt was proud to support legislation that expanded the rights of gun owners. He worked hard to advance the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms, while opposing liberal desires to create bureaucracy intended to burden gun owners and sportsmen. As governor, he also designated May 7th as “The Right to Bear Arms Day” in Massachusetts to honor law-abiding citizens and their right to “use firearms in defense of their families, persons, and property for all lawful purposes, including common defense.”"

Mitt Romney wanted federal ballistic fingerprinting in 2002

Mitt supported assault weapons ban.

Romney in 2007 falsely claims he owes a gun, goes hunting, and is a member of the NRA

Romney has an uneasy relationship with gun owners. "I don't line up with the NRA," he said when he tried to oust Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts in 1994. 

“He supported the Brady Bill, supported the gun ban, increased taxes on gun licenses by 400 percent when he was in the state of Massachusetts,”


(with videos):



Mitt Romney on Russia

Obama’s Failure

"He continued the same “we give, Russia gets” policy by signing the New START treaty in 2010. While the agreement compels the U.S. to reduce our nuclear launcher and warhead limits, the levels it sets for Russia are above what the Russians possessed at the time the agreement was reached. In other words, New START gave Russia room to expand its arsenal while requiring the United States to reduce our own. In any event, even if we put aside the demerits of the treaty, it was a squandered opportunity to extract concessions from the Russians that would have advanced our interests. Thus, President Obama failed to press for meaningful reductions not only in Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, but also in its extensive tactical nuclear force. And he failed to elicit Russian help in dealing with North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambitions."

So....what is Mitt promising to do?

"Mitt Romney will review the implementation of the New START treaty and other decisions by the Obama administration regarding America's nuclear posture and arms-control policies to determine whether they serve the best interests and national security of the United States."

What. What? 'Review to determine *IF* they are in the best interest of the U.S.??

But Mitt - You just said they were failures. Why not say you will work to repeal the START? Funny wording there (basically giving yourself and easy out while throwing bones to your base).

"Mitt Romney will pursue policies that work to decrease the reliance of European nations on Russian sources of energy. He will explore increasing technical assistance to the Eastern European nations currently developing the Turkey-to-Austria Nabucco natural gas pipeline, which will supply Europe with a cheaper source of energy and options apart from Russian oil and gas.

 Explain to us why WE need to do this and Europe cannot?

"A Romney administration will also work with the private sector to spur access to untapped shale energy resources in Western Europe."

OK. Work with them how? Any details on what the U.S. government is going to be involved in or how? And again - why the US?

"With the Kremlin’s leverage over the energy supplies of Central and Western Europe, its stockpile of nuclear weapons, its recent history of aggressive military action, and the power it wields in multilateral institutions like the United Nations, Russia is a destabilizing force on the world stage. It needs to be tempered."

I'll quote here from another writer:

Tempered how? By, according to “Mitt’s Plan” on his Russia page: reassessing (and possibly discarding) Obama’s mutual disarmament treaty with Russia, enacting policies to redirect European funds away from the Russian oil industry, strengthening military and trade relationships with other Central Asian states, and bolstering “civil society” movements, within Russia, to resist the influence of the “authoritarian” government.
And then—voilĂ —stability in the region? Targeted economic interference, military assistance to regional adversaries, encouraging domestic unrest—all time-tested cornerstones of any good roadmap to peace, right? If you think so, vote Romney."

 "A Romney administration will build stronger relationships with the states of Central Asia by enhancing diplomatic ties, increasing military training and assistance, and negotiating trade pacts and educational exchanges."

This implies that ties are weak - does Mitt have any examples or sources for this assertion? If so, why not add them to his site?

"A Romney administration will be forthright in confronting the Russian government over its authoritarian practices."

Anyone can confront them. I could send a strongly worded letter myself. Care to explain HOW you will confront them?

Mitt Romney's plan for the Military

Mitt on the issues: Defense.

"The Obama administration’s cuts have left us with a military inventory largely composed of weapons designed forty to fifty years ago."

And why didn't Bush fix that when he was in office?

The US outspends every other country on the planet.

 "The USA with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 43% of the world total"

Defense spending has continued to increase.Not decrease.

"The average age of our tanker aircraft is 47 years, of strategic bombers 34 years. While the weapons in our arsenal remain formidable, they are well along on the path to obsolescence. Along with the aging process, there has been a precipitous decline in sheer numbers. The U.S. Navy has only 284 ships today, the lowest level since 1916."

The biggest cuts in # of ships came from 2000-2007.

We had 318 total ships in 2000. 285 now. There are more being built to replace ships that have retired but are not yet completed. 

Here is one.

Here are two more.

 Our Air Force, which had 82 fighter squadrons at the end of the Cold War, has been reduced to 39 today. President Obama has cut funding for national missile defense."

Wait a minute. Mitt is saying that our average tanker aircraft is 47 years old. Why weren't more built during the Bush administration then?

Secondly, why are we in need of cold war totals today? We have better fighters that are supposed to do more with one fighter than many (and they cost a ton) like the F-35.

And there is this from January 2012:  "But the review also rededicated the Department of Defense to supporting new military aviation programmes, including the next-generation bomber and the Boeing KC-46A tanker." - what was that about tankers Mitt?

"This will not be a cost-free process. We cannot rebuild our military strength without paying for it. Mitt will begin by reversing Obama-era defense cuts"

From 2008-2012 the budget has increased.

From about $400 Billion in 2002 to $900 billion in 2012.

"During World War II the United States built 1,000 ships per year with 1,000 people employed in the Bureau of Ships, as the purchasing department of the Department of the Navy was then called. By the 1980s, we were building seventeen ships per year, with 4,000 people in purchasing. Today, when we are building only nine ships a year, the Pentagon manages the shipbuilding process with some 25,000 people."

Wait - so we ARE still building ships to add to the largest Navy in the world?

"With proper management, we can do far better in controlling costs and getting more for our taxpayer dollars."

Whoa, hold on there a second. Mitt wants to increase the budget and control costs? So basically, more money, less people working, but more weapons? Why not decrease the budget to reflect the cuts in personnel some - or would that be too 'liberal'?

"The cost of preparedness may sometimes be high, but the cost of unpreparedness is almost always higher — not just in tax dollars but in human life and in the survival of liberty and representative government."

No one is saying not to be prepared or not to have a defense budget, it is the level that is generally being discussed. How many more nukes does one need? If we cut that 25,000 people above down to 2,000 that would save money and the budget could be lowered (but as Mitt says, he wants to increase it).

Next up - More from Mitt's issues section. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DISH network VS the Hopi Tribe

The suit: DISH claims that the Hopi tribe does not have legal jurisdiction to charge it an annual $500 fee based on USC 47 U.S.C. § 303(v); 47 U.S.C. § 152 note and section 602 of the communications act. They claim only states can charge fees (or collect/levy taxes) on satellite services. DISH also wants a judge to find that they do not have to consent to Tribal jurisdiction (Section 17 of the Hopi code)

Relevant Information:
Section 303(v) of the Communications Act preempts non-federal regulation of DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite) service, and Section 602 of the Communications Act explicitly bars local governments from taxing or imposing any fee on the right of DBS providers to do business within their jurisdictions.

DISH contends that the Tribe can not legally enforce either the fee or tribal rulings in relation to the matter. (source: PDF of the court filing, see link to suit below)

The tribe first charged the fee in 2009, then sued Dish Network in Tribal Court in December 2011, seeking an injunction ordering Dish to get a business license and pay an annual fee, plus "a $500 a day penalty for failure to obtain a license and pay the annual fee in the past," according to the complaint. (source: Courthouse News Service).

The suit:

Hopi Code (Section 17):


a. The Hopi Tribal Court shall have jurisdiction over all civil actions where there are sufficient contacts with the Hopi Indian Reservation upon which to base the exercise of jurisdiction, consistent with the constitution and laws of the Hopi Tribe and the United States. It is the intent of this section to authorize the broadest exercise of jurisdiction consistent with these limitations.

b. The Hopi Tribal Court shall have all powers and may issue all writs, judgements or any ether order necessary to the complete and effective exercise of its jurisdiction.

c. In the exercise of its civil jurisdiction, the acts of the Hopi Tribal Court shall be construed as being remedial and for the purpose of obtaining complete and effective compliance with ail applicable laws for the peace, health, safety and welfare of all residents and other persons having contacts with the Hopi Reservation.

d. Any person, whether or not a member of the Hopi Indian Tribe or a resident of the Hopi Indian Reservation, or other legal entity who in person or through an agent commits any of the acts hereinafter enumerated, thereby submits to the civil jurisdiction of the Hopi Tribal Court as to any cause of action relating to such act:

-The transaction or doing of any business within the Reservation;

-The commission of a torturous act within the Reservation;

-The ownership, use or possession of any real or personal property within the Reservation;

-Contracting to insure any person, property or risk residing or located within the Reservation at the time of contracting or at the time the acts occur which are the basis of the civil action;

-Contracting with the Hopi Tribe, a member of the Hopi Tribe, or any other person-or other legal entity for the sale or purchase of any goods or services knowing or under circumstances where it reasonably should have known that such contract is to be performed or is in fact performed on or from within the Hopi Reservation; and

-Any other acts or conduct which establish such minimal contacts with the Hopi Indian Reservation or with the Hopi Tribe so that the exercise of civil jurisdiction by the Hopi Tribal Court would not be contrary to traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. (Revised H-92-91)

US Communications act of 1996 code:

(a) DBS SIGNAL SECURITY- Section 705(e)(4) (47 U.S.C. 605(e)(4))
is amended by inserting `or direct-to-home satellite services,' after `programming,'.

Section 303 (47 U.S.C. 303) is amended by adding at the end thereof
the following new subsection:

`(v) Have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the provision of
direct-to-home satellite services. As used in this subsection, the
term `direct-to-home satellite services' means the distribution or
broadcasting of programming or services by satellite directly to
the subscriber's premises without the use of ground receiving or
distribution equipment, except at the subscriber's premises or in
the uplink process to the satellite.'.

Section 602:



(a) PREEMPTION- A provider of direct-to-home satellite service
shall be exempt from the collection or remittance, or both, of any
tax or fee imposed by any local taxing jurisdiction on
direct-to-home satellite service.

(b) DEFINITIONS- For the purposes of this section--

`direct-to-home satellite service' means only programming
transmitted or broadcast by satellite directly to the
subscribers' premises without the use of ground receiving or
distribution equipment, except at the subscribers' premises or
in the uplink process to the satellite.

purposes of this section, a `provider of direct-to-home
satellite service' means a person who transmits, broadcasts,
sells, or distributes direct-to-home satellite service.

(3) LOCAL TAXING JURISDICTION- The term `local taxing
jurisdiction' means any municipality, city, county, township,
parish, transportation district, or assessment jurisdiction, or
any other local jurisdiction in the territorial jurisdiction of
the United States with the authority to impose a tax or fee,
but does not include a State.

(4) STATE- The term `State' means any of the several States,
the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the
United States.

(5) TAX OR FEE- The terms `tax' and `fee' mean any local
sales tax, local use tax, local intangible tax, local income
tax, business license tax, utility tax, privilege tax, gross
receipts tax, excise tax, franchise fees, local
telecommunications tax, or any other tax, license, or fee that
is imposed for the privilege of doing business, regulating, or
raising revenue for a local taxing jurisdiction.

(c) PRESERVATION OF STATE AUTHORITY- This section shall not be
construed to prevent taxation of a provider of direct-to-home
satellite service by a State or to prevent a local taxing
jurisdiction from receiving revenue derived from a tax or fee
imposed and collected by a State.

Snippets from the suit brought by DISH:

Section 15: ...Subscribers enter into a subscription agreement with DISH

Section 16: DISH Service provides installation service for DISH. DISH Service
enters the reservation to install the satellite dish receiver and the decoder box on the
subscriber’s residence. DISH Service has no independent relationship or agreements,
express or implied, with the subscriber.

Some thoughts on it:
This is a bit larger than just one small lawsuit over $500. One thing which caught my eye was this:

142 Cong. Rec. (statement of Rep.Hyde) “Section 602 reflects a legislative determination that the provision of direct-to home satellite service is national, not local in nature. . . . To permit thousands of local taxing jurisdictions to tax such a national service would create an unnecessary and undue burden on the providers of such services.”.

This has broad implications as can be seen in a lawsuit from Kentucky. Basically, school districts were imposing a tax on DBS's and claiming that since they were also state entities (ie, school taxes in Kentucky are considered state taxes) and states were exempted from the 1996 Communications Act they could levy the tax.

The court found this was not the case since the taxes were set up on a district by district basis.

This was noted in the Kentucky case (and I find this important to the case at hand):

In adopting the House version, the
Conference Committee explained that
[t]he conference agreement adopts the House
provisions with modifications. This section exempts
DTH [direct-to-home] satellite service providers from
collecting and remitting local taxes and fees on DTH
satellite services . DTH satellite service is programming
delivered directly to subscribers equipped with satellite
receivers at their premises ; it does not require the use
of public rights-of-way or the physical facilities or
services of a community. The conferees adopt the
House language, but narrow the language to ensure
that the exemption is only provided for the actual sale
of the programming delivered by the direct-to-home
satellite service. . . . The intent of these amendments is
to clarify that the exemption applies only to the
programming provided by the direct-to-home satellite
service. To give two illustrative examples, the
exemption does not apply to the sale of equipment; . . .
In addition, the exemption does not apply to real estate
taxes that are otherwise applicable when the provider
owns or leases real estate in a jurisdiction . Also,
States are free to tax the sale of the service and they
may rebate some or all of those monies to localities if
they so desire .

I am still researching this case and will comment on it later in the day.

Edited to add link:

Office of Revenue Commission