Flap’s Links and Comments for March 22nd on 09:10

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 22nd from 09:10 to 09:12:

  • Can California tax Internet purchases? – California's severe budget squeeze and a stagnant economy have rekindled a political war over how Internet purchases should be taxed – if, indeed, they could be taxed.

    California already has one of the nation's highest sales tax rates, approaching 10 percent in some communities. But it's applied only to transactions inside the state or to mail order and Internet sales when the seller has a "physical presence" in the state.

    The latter condition – decreed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992 – is the rub.

    Technically, Californians who buy from distant sellers are supposed to pay an equivalent "use tax" on state income tax returns. Few do, and enforcement is virtually impossible.

    That would seem to be that, but the potential revenue gain – officially at least a few hundred million dollars a year – and pressure from brick-and-mortar merchants about untaxed competition have sparked efforts to mine the Internet and mail sales vein.

    The situation's bête noire is Amazon, the huge Internet seller of almost everything. New York seized upon Amazon's use of affiliated sellers as the "physical presence" or "nexus" that would require it to collect sales taxes. But the New York law is tied up in the courts, and Amazon has threatened to cancel affiliate relations in any state that follows suit.

    Some California legislators want to emulate New York, prompting Amazon to issue a declaration that it not only opposes four pending taxation bills as violating the Supreme Court decision, but "would be compelled to end its advertising relationships with well over 10,000 California-based participants in the Amazon associates program." Overstock.com issued a similar warning.

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    Read it all.

  • Levin 1, Wehner 0 – Advantage, Levin. Even if you don’t believe the seemingly apocryphal stories about Reagan regretting the 1986 bill, it clearly failed. (The amnesty part worked. The border enforcement part was blocked.) It’s one thing to say Reagan supported this policy the first time. It’s another to claim he would have supported making the same mistake a second time–and that this is the “conservative” approach. … P.S.: It’s particularly disingenuous for Wehner to claim that Bush “never supported” a Reagan-like “amnesty.” The main difference between Reagan’s approach and Bush’s is that Reagan was honest enough to call it what it was (“amnesty”).  Bush and his apparatchiks preferred poll-tested confections like “path to citizenship.” …  Also, Bush’s amnesty was bigger. …

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    Bush's Amnesty Plan or Path to Citizenship would have been a MAJOR disaster.

    Reagan's "Amnesty" was bad enough – Mark Levin was correct.

Flap’s Links and Comments for March 16th on 20:49

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 16th from 20:49 to 20:55:

  • C.I.A. Security Officer Is Freed in Pakistan as Redress Is Paid – A C.I.A. security officer jailed for killing two Pakistanis on a crowded Lahore street was released Wednesday after weeks of secret negotiations between American and Pakistani officials, a pledge of millions of dollars in “blood money” to the victims’ families, and quiet political pressure by Pakistani officials on the courts.

    The fatal shootings by Raymond A. Davis, who was immediately flown out of the country to Kabul, Afghanistan, had ignited a furor here and brought relations between the C.I.A. and Pakistan’s spy service to perhaps their lowest ebb since the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Mr. Davis’s release appears to have temporarily cooled frictions between the two wary allies, but it left unresolved many of the irritants that strained ties in the first place. American officials insisted on Wednesday that the C.I.A. made no pledges to scale back covert operations in Pakistan or to give the Pakistani government or its intelligence agency a roster of American spies operating in the country — assertions that Pakistani officials disputed.

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    Davis or whatever his name is should have been flown out of Pakistan weeks ago.

  • There’s More to Birthright Citizenship Than You Think – The debate over birthright citizenship has focused on children born here to illegal aliens. Admittedly, this is a big deal, with more than 300,000 births a year to illegal-immigrants mothers, though I’m on record as skeptical that changing our citizenship rules should be a high-priority objective for immigration hawks.

    But there’s a whole other part of the problem — children born here to legal, but temporary, visitors. Not green card holders, who as permanent residents are best seen as candidate-members of the American people and whose children should definitely be citizens at birth. The issue, rather, is about “non-immigrants,” foreigners here temporarily as tourists, students, workers, whatever. In this regard, the issue of birth tourism has gotten attention lately, as has the citizenship status of terrorists like Anwar al-Awlaki and Yaser Esam Hamdi, both born in the U.S. to visitors but raised entirely abroad, who’ve tried to use their nominal citizenship to protect themselves from justice.

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    First, E-Verify and then secure the border.

    Civil rights organizations go wild over this issue of birthright citizenship and frankly is too difficult to change with a Constitutional amendment.