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ZombieLaw studies zombies in law, politics and current events.

What is zombie formalism?

A google search for “formalism” tells me it is a noun defined as:

1. excessive adherence to prescribed forms.

2. a description of something in formal mathematical or logical terms.

It refers to art, literature, math, philosophy and law, and there are Wikipedia pages about each of those. Legal formalism is defined by Wikipedia as:

Legal formalism is a legal positivist view in philosophy of law and jurisprudence. While Jeremy Bentham’s legal positivism can be seen as appertaining to the legislature, legal formalism appertains to the Judge; that is, formalism does not (as positivism does) suggest that the substantive justice of a law is irrelevant, but rather, that in a democracy, that is a question for the legislature to address, not the Judge.

And maybe that would be ideal, if our legislatures weren’t so terribly deadlocked.

We need judges to step out from the formal logic and be human, nay be Hercules. Recall the blog by Federal Judge Richard Kopf, “Hercules and the Umpire“. The umpire is a formalist, but the law also needs heroes.

Consider the recent case of Riley v. California in which the Supreme Court found a Constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches of smart phone data. In that case the legislature of California passed a bill to do the same thing, but Governor Jerry Brown refused to sign it because:

“Courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizures protections.”

From 2011, EFF: “Governor Brown Vetoes Warrant Protection for Cell Phones” by Trevor Timm. Law professor Orin Kerr is quoted for his disagreement. But this is the political climate of our times, and if the political process will not adequately protect us, then we need judges who will. Like the modern artists, we seem to have forgotten that law is not merely formalized abstraction, it’s people.

Meanwhile in terms of art, at Wikipedia:

In art history, formalism is the study of art by analyzing and comparing form and style—the way objects are made and their purely visual aspects. In painting formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape, texture, and other perceptual aspects rather than iconography or the historical and social context. At its extreme, formalism in art history posits that everything necessary to comprehending a work of art is contained within the work of art.

Tonight at the School of Visual Arts: ““Zombie Formalism” and Other Recent Speculations in Abstraction

A panel discussion addressing the newest iterations of non-objective art and the trends that have emerged in abstraction as well as the numerous stylistic changes abstraction has gone through since Kandinsky first practiced it over a century ago. Panelists also discuss the recent resurgence of interest in abstract art for both young artists and art collectors. Moderated by artist and SVA faculty member Amy Wilson (BFA 1995 Fine Arts). Panelists include curator and art advisor for Levin Art Group Todd Levin, painter and art critic Walter Robinson and artist, writer and curator Ryan Steadman. Presented by BFA Visual & Critical Studies.

See also Wikipedia on Abstraction (art). In the visual arts:

it refers to art unconcerned with the literal depiction of things from the visible world—it can, however, refer to an object or image which has been distilled from the real world, or indeed, another work of art.

Recall Walter Robinson and the art term “Zombie Formalism” from the prior ZombieLaw post: “Zombie Art World: surrealism, realism, formalism, conceptualism, ART!” and see more ZombieLaw: Art

zombie walter robinson

See also SFAQ: “Who’s Afraid of the New Abstraction?“, Alex Bacon in conversation with Jarrett Earnest, described by Painter’s Table as:

Alex Bacon and Jarrett Earnest discuss current trends in abstract painting, and the labels “crapstraction” and “zombie formalism.”

And more recently ArtNet: “Have Art Fairs Destroyed Art? Zombie Abstraction and Dumb Painting Ruled in Miami” by Christian Viveros-Fauné:

the latest iteration of Art Basel in Miami Beach … featured lots of shiny surfaces, stacks of joke paintings, and enough zombie abstraction to inspire several remakes of World War Z.

Consider also in connection to robots and employment automation. In Australia, Sydney Morning Herald: “Automation could be the real zombie invasion” by Jacob Greber, linking to his article in Financial Review: ““Up to 500,000 jobs threatened by rise of robots, artificial intelligence: report“. And see Telegraph: “Parents will wave off children to school in driverless cars, says minister” by Georgia Graham, suggesting we could replace school bus drivers with robots but that hacking could be the “key barrier”:

Ms Perry said there were legitimate concerns in Government that the cars could be hacked by cyber criminals, but that people should think of driverless cars as “assisted technology” not “zombie robot taxis”.

Remember when Mitt Romney insulted school bus drivers too? Wouldn’t thank them for helping the kids get A’s, because they are just zombie taxi drivers, right? Because driving the school bus route isn’t an art, it’s just automaticity?

But, no! Even if the system is formalist, it’s still people! But of course, what’s a person. Consider again, the case of Tommy the chimpanzee, for whom the Nonhuman Rights group is trying to secure personhood and get out of a slave cage. Formally, not a person, but there has to be more to it. We can be legal formalists and say Tommy is not a person because the law has never done that before or we can realize that there is a larger purpose to law, not a Natural Law from a higher power, but a natural law from the natural purpose of law. Law can be more than formal and we need judges who believe.

Modern conceptions of law are increasingly formalist. The prevailing idea that the formalism keeps the system stable, keep markets orderly flow. And I suspect it’s similar for the art world. Consider quotes from a 1988 Yale law review article, “Formalism” by Frederick Schauer, cited by the Wikipedia on legal formalism, noting a “contemporary aversion to formalism”, and intending to “rescue formalism from conceptual banishment”. That was over 25 years ago, it seems maybe we’ve gone too far, missing some of the spirit.

zombie brain usb keychain

Finally, if you are interested in some of my own art, which I do think is somewhat of a formalist abstraction, see the collection of ZombieLaw zombie portraits. Then please consider buying a book or ZombieLaw Cafepress merchandise and also consider my non-zombie Cafepress merchandise too. After all Zombie Christmas is coming.

And don’t forget zombie-brain USB – because formalism vs. realism is sort of similar to debates about mind-body phenomenology (is meaning in the structure of the texts, or in the reader? not to mention any intent of a so-called author). But remember, using USB drives from strangers can be dangerous, zombie cyber hackers are everywhere (taking advantage of computers formalism to do what wasn’t intended).

49ers zombie football

Mercury News: “The 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh era is over: After losing to the Raiders, everything’s just an epilogue… and an end-game” by Tim Kawakami:

That was not the real Jim Harbaugh out there on the 49ers sideline on Sunday and those were the shadow 49ers alongside him.

These were the diminished zombie versions–drained out, desiccated down and crumbled into pieces.

The column is syndicated by many news sites, note particularly at Detroit News running with the headline: “49ers are zombies, Jim Harbaugh is dead in San Francisco

See also SFgate: “Fittingly, offensive ineptitude all but extinguishes 49ers’ playoff hopes” by Eric Branch:

That became painfully evident after the 49ers’ season-long weak spot – their offense – continued its zombie act against a defense that was one week removed from being humiliated in a 52-0 loss to quarterback Shaun Hill, running back Tre Mason and the rest of the Rams.

And for this holiday season from the, resin zombies figurines:

This picture of Jim Harbaugh is also hosted by Mercury News:

Here’s zombie portraits of these two sports journalists who saw value in this word, you’ve been zombified:

kawakami zombie 49ers
zombie 49ers eric branch

See more from ZombieLaw tags: Football or Sports

***UPDATE: Late addition to this post, Bloomberg just posted: “NFL Television Ratings Rise 3% as Zombies Go on Midseason Break” by Erik Matuszewski:

Even with the zombie competition, the NFL has thrived on Sunday nights.

The past four weeks, the Monday night NFL game on ESPN was eclipsed by “The Walking Dead” for the biggest cable network audience of the week. With zombies not returning until the week after the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, that streak probably ends this week …

spoiler city – peter pan twitterverse christmas

Last Sunday (not yesterday, the week before), AMC faced backlash when it tweeted about it’s own show, “The Walking Dead”. Now a week later, so I think it’s safe to tweet about it? I don’t know, but Beth is dead and AMC told it’s fans on Twitter before the show even aired in California. Some viewers were upset (but don’t they know that tweeting their upset only further propagated the information and so they themselves then became the tweeter that spoiled for their friends). What a dumb world we live in.

See tweet from @WalkingDead_AMC:

#RIPBeth #TheWalkingDead

And response from @brianna256 simply “FUCK YOU”

See also Media Post: “When Fictional TV Characters Die, Fans Shed Real Tears” by Adam Buckman:

Spoiler alert: Beth Greene was not a real person.

But characters ARE real! Just like the zombies are real. If they weren’t real what is it we be talking about? Fictional existence is real. It doesn’t even have to exist in reality to be real. Real is a feeling.

Now it’s still possible to keep an entertainment secret (unless like Sony you get hacked) but once it airs in New York is it possible to keep it from the viewers in California? Should it be? I want something like AEREO so we can stop pretending that we aren’t all living in the same airwaves, part of the same cloud. Alas, SCOTUS killed that dream and Congress is too deadlocked to set up any new mandatory licensing schemes, so we have to wait. In the meantime, the media still wants to control information in both time and space.

Maybe this whole RIPBeth stunt was really an accident or maybe it was a media ploy to point out the absurdity? Twitter is often used to stir up controversy and it’s often impossible to tell which are paid marketing accounts. Clearly, AMC has a vested interest in spoiling the show for viewers who don’t watch live because they want to encourage live viewership; appointment television gets the ratings so that advertisers will pay. Still, they want the west coast viewers too, so this problem is not going away.

Consider also the Twitter response to “Peter Pan”, see Washington Post: “‘Peter Pan Live!’ flies clear of Twitter’s crocodile jaws” by Hank Stuever:

was far more entertaining and certainly more endurable than its zombie predecessor, last year’s “The Sound of Music Live!”

The early reviews were positive in part because Twitter didn’t get as much hate-watchers as they expected. Of course, Twitter was a little busy Thursday night with the mass protests. Is it coincidence that Brian Williams controls the news division and the news of no indictments created protests just in time to shadow his daughter’s weak musical? And why was it weak? Well, because despite being a great story, it’s never been a great musical. Also, the casting: nepotism and old farts. That was a political message.

This production was brought to us by Walmart featuring the actress from the Teenage Witch (and her real husband), so that we don’t even think that maybe the actor from “Blackish” is her husband? In the other version of the ad they seem together, but this version made sure we were clear about her family (laten racism but it’s her “real” husband so it’s not racism, right? it’s just real, right?) But the one token black Lost Boy is barely blackish.

Peter Pan’s costume was colored exactly like a nug of weed, because that’s what they were smoking when they created that acid trip Neverland with trees made of wedding bouquets (is that why Peter is always forgetting stuff? – flying?).
allison williams peter pan marijuana weed colors costume

See also the Inquisitr: “NBC’s ‘Peter Pan Live!’ Not So Magical?“:

The Twitterverse was anticipating a complete flop for “Peter Pan Live!” after last year’s zombie-like production of NBC’s “The Sound of Music.”

Weirdest episode of HBO‘s “Girls“, ever. And did Captain Hook get that watch in the war (see “Pulp Fiction”)? Did he have to bring it back tucked up in his ass and that’s why he’s pissed that Peter fed it to the crock?

This musical was as political a subtext as last year’s “Sound of Music”. Last year, it was Tea Party vampire Bill fleeing from the imposition of federal power. It was totally a message about Affordable Care Act. They had to join the church so that Von Trapp didn’t have to pay his employees health insurance as required by the federal power. This year it’s girls run off with girls who want to be boys to go fight old men who can’t barely stand up. It’s about silly childish unreality and delusions of youth. Captain Hook’s evil is obscured by Walken’s performance and Pan is maybe the villain?

Investor Place: “Surprise! WMT Is No Longer a Zombie” by James Brumley about the stock price of Walmart Stores Inc. (main sponsor of “Peter Pan”). Of course, this is really all about selling stuff. Imported stuff. Cheap stuff. Warehouses full of it. After all, it’s zombie Christmas.

Aleteia: “Why Write Christmas Carols in the Zombie Era?” by Joseph Bottum:

I’ve been writing Christmas songs over the past few years, and maybe for much the same reason that AMC fills the airwaves with its zombie-apocalypse television show “The Walking Dead”

If meaning comes only from us — if meaning arrives only via the human outlook on the world — then there is nothing meaningful in itself.

Throw in a few zombies, however, and you’ve got a world, for screenwriters and viewers, that thrums with all the deep meaning of the apocalypse and the end of days.

I find the mad festival of Christmas an answer of joyous unselfconsciousness

And see CraveOnline: “No, Seriously… ‘Die Hard’ is a Real Christmas Movie“:

“Vampire movies” can have vampire heroes or villains. “Zombie movies” simply have zombies in them, don’t they? “Christmas movies” can simply include Christmas as a prominent backdrop.

True that. Like zombies (and Beth), Christmas is real, whether we believe in it or not. And “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie! Is it also a zombie movie because he just won’t die?

Share your Christmas with Syracuse: “Send us photos of your crazy holiday lights, decorations” By Katrina Tulloch:

your blow-up sleigh, zombie Santa balloon and fake snow might be cool

And in NJ: “Zombie Santa invades Smithville; you’d better watch out!” by Peter Genovese:

Zombies seem to be everywhere these days

We are talking, of course, about Zombie Santa.

Mike Spagnola, co-owner of The Underground in Historic Smithville and Mr. Zombie Santa himself.

Meanwhile, AMC confirms “Preacher TV pilot ordered by AMC” by Zaharia Bogdan — ooh I’m excited for those characters to become real for more people. That story is F’ing crazy, but let’s not spoil it yet. Honestly I’m sort of more interested to know which musical NBC will try next year, has anyone hacked that information yet? C’mon spoiler city, spoil something good.

Or maybe you are too busy debating whether the chokehold is real? Or if this police state is real? Twitter present a new opportunity for the world to come together and debate our political structures, get organized and motivate like minds. Maybe Peter Pan was the moment we stop hate watching and get out in the streets. Let’s hope the next musical teaches us to vote. We could tell your legislators to create licensing for internet television and we can go back to hate-watching the same shows at the same time.

dead week random zombies

This post is some zombie quotes that caught my attention this week but were too long to tweet and didn’t fit into a larger post theme on their own.

First, in Hillsboro, the local politics may be getting weird, see the Times Gazette: “Concerned citizens hold a meeting” by Gary Abernathy:

“My fellow ghosts, goblins, vampires, werewolves and zombies, please calm down and take your seats!” he implored. “We need to call this meeting to order!”

I think it’s a satire piece but I don’t know what Abernathy is referring to. Still if we held a a mass assembly of the monsters what politics should we discuss? How about the weather? See FT: “The Slow Lane: True nature of the new greens” by Harry Eyres:

The neo-environmentalists may look superficially a bit like the old environmentalists but they are, in fact, zombie or replicant environmentalists; that is to say, they don’t care at all about nature for its own sake but only about the services it provides to the human economy.

Well duh, we are human-centric. We really seem to think humans are “unique” (see this week’s decision of the 3d Appellate Division in New York regarding the rights of Tommy the imprisoned chimpanzee:

it is undeniable that, collectively, human beings possess the unique ability to bear legal responsibility.

Hmm… that’s not true. I hate when courts declare stuff that just not true. But the legal philosophy of our world really has no respect for our planet. As said above, we are human-centric. These are not Common Law judges these are zombie or replicant versions.

John Oliver performing at Buffalo: “Oliver declares eccentricity as America’s legacy” by Marcene Robinson:

Oliver’s bizarre observations of America continued with a zombie bar crawl in Minneapolis, Minn., and discovering that Denver, Colo., celebrates “Frozen Dead Guy Day.”

That’s a reference to both alcohol zombies and frozen zombies.

At the Daily Titan: “Zombie popularity reflects American fears” by Lizeth Luevano another mention of Dr. Golub’s upcoming class:

American Studies 428 is an upper division elective course that explores how monsters reflect the fears in America at the time in history of their popularity.

“What culture is afraid of can be very revealing,” said Associate Professor of American Studies Adam Golub, Ph.D.

Meanwhile, many academic institutions have a “dead week” between the end of classes and the start of finals, which for some schools was last week.

Houstonion Online: “Is Dead Week really necessary?” by Alexis Bloomer:

Across the United States, several large universities allow a week off before finals to help students prepare for a week of exams that might determine whether or not they will pass a class. This short yet precious time is known to college students as dead week. defines dead week as “the late night working and hardcore studying for finals that gives students a zombie-like atmosphere and causes an eerie silence and many blank, unseeing expressions.” Sadly, this is not a far stretch from reality.

And from the editorial board at OUdaily: “We encourage you to be a healthy zombie this undead week“.

Health is important, see New University UC Irvine: “Healthcare or Hellcare?” by Joseph Vu, a fourth-year public health policy major:

The new United States healthcare system is like a zombie apocalypse; we have a protocol for the situation, but honestly, we are not ready for zombies to take over America.

Consider similarly a tweet from Jonathon Tomlinson – ‏@mellojonny, an NHS GP in London:

before long the frail, elderly with nowhere to go will be wandering the streets like a zombie apocalypse

Much like college students.

banks, debts, deep discounting, japan, new york, UK

Globes: “The financial system is close to the abyss” by Irit Avissar quoting Prof. Anat Admati:

Zombie banks constantly gamble

it will reveal which banks are good and healthy, and which are weak to the point of being zombies – the walking dead.

If a bank is a zombie it won’t be able to raise capital, and I fear that there are a lot of banks like that.

A zombie bank cannot issue new credit, so it is already not a source of oxygen for the economy. Zombie banks only continue to gamble with more and more money to try and cease being a zombie, while simultaneously not recognizing their losses in their balance sheets, in order to avoid collapse.

FT Adviser: “FCA restructuring to see two executives depart” By Ruth Gillbe :

Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Martin Wheatley admitted the regulator’s handling of the probe into so-called zombie insurance funds that caused a ‘disorderly market’ was not the FCA’s “our finest hour” in April.

Referring to FT Adviser: “Wheatley admits he will face ‘serious questions’ on blunder” By Donia O’Loughlin:

Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Martin Wheatley has admitted the regulator’s handling of probe into so-called zombie insurance funds that caused a ‘disorderly market’ on Friday (28 March) was not “our finest hour”.

Consider Japan, see Market Oracle: “Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of an Economy” by Jesse:

Japan, and the ‘Asian tigers’ as well, were mercantilist in their outlook and crony capitalist in their composition. The enormous amounts of monetary stimulus were dissipated in supporting zombie corporations, a ruling elite, unproductive investments, and widespread soft corruption and insider dealing.

Times: “Japan’s ‘zombienomics’” by Kevin Rafferty:

My worry is that Japan and Abe are practicing “zombienomics,” repeating mantra — like “three arrows” — as if they are magic spells that will bring instant success.

Japan is becoming a zombie society, where people do not question old shibboleths.

From my base at Osaka University, I despair of the emphasis on conformity and refusal to question authority, when Japan needs more questions, more solutions, more entrepreneurial thinking, not more zombies.

Meanwhile in New York, the Governor is getting credit for new rules for debt collection – particularly regarding attempts to collect illegal debts that have exceeded their statutory limit – so not really a new rule, so much as new ways to protect a rule that already exists.

Local Syr: “New York State issues new rules for debt collection“:

The fourth regulation guards against zombie debt collection.

Long Island Exchange: “Senator LaValle: NY Making Additional Efforts to Protect Consumers from Fraudulent and Abusive Debt Collectors“:

Protections Against Collection of “Zombie Debts”: If a collector attempts to collect on a debt that exceeded its expiration date, before accepting the debtor’s payment, the collector must provide notice that they believe the debt has expired.

CUTimes: “NY Adds New Rules on Debt Collection” by David Morrison:

The notification that the statute of limitations may have expired is meant to help consumers confronted by debt collectors trying to collect on what the department called “zombie debt”, which is debt older than its legal statute of limitations.


These new, finalized state Department of Financial Services regulations will provide consumers with important disclosures to help combat aggressive and deceptive practices that take advantage of confusion or fear, help stop attempts to sue to collect “zombie debts,” establish a new debt “substantiation” requirement so that consumers can request information to avoid paying what they do not owe, and address other widespread abuses in the debt collection industry.

Meanwhile, and only tangentially related, at 4Hoteliers: “Why You Shouldn’t Sell Rooms for $7 on Hotel Tonight.” by Vikram Singh:

Discounting is dead. Granted, it’s a zombie that comes back to life every now and then when hotel owners, managers and marketers completely run out of ideas. But you don’t have to be a victim of zombie discounting. There are many other approaches that can help you through a slow season.

It’s tangentially related because banks might try to deep discount their bad debt and less scrupulous debt collectors take the risk. But if the risks are too high then the deep discounts cause bigger problems.

Recall there are at least three types of “zombies debt”.

And see more ZombieLaw: Money

American Zombie uncovers political corruption

In the ongoing race for Louisiana Senate, the investigative journalist at the blog “American Zombie” has posted “Paging Dr. Cassidy…..” with a document dump of public records related to Congressman and Senate candidate Bill Cassidy. The issue is his billing for hospital work. The claims is that he billed for more hours than he told the House ethics committee. According to a new ad from supporters of Senator Mary Landrieu, the congressman appears to be in two places at once.

Bayou Buzz: “Did Bill Cassidy double bill?” by Lou Gehrig Burnett:

Heading into the final week before the election, Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has come under fire and is on a hot seat concerning allegations he was double-billing (double-dipping) by charging for work at LSU while he was getting paid for his Congressional duties.

The investigative reports, first broken by the websites The American Zombie and CenLamar, have now been picked up and are being pursued by local and national media, including The Times-Picayune, The Advocate, WWL-TV New Orleans, The Hill newspaper, ABC News, and the NOLA Defender.

Politico: “Landrieu ad riles New Orleans Fox affiliate” by James Hohmann:

Last week, a blog called “American Zombie” posted what it described as an “opposition research” dump. It was a series of emails and time sheets, obtained through public records requests, about Cassidy’s work as a teacher and physician for Louisiana State University.

Recall the blog ‘American Zombie’ was also important in the conviction of Mayor Ray Nagin; see the ZombieLaw post: “The Zombie that took down Ray Nagin“.

Blogger, Jason Berry, is dedicated to exposing public corruption within New Orleans. It’s coincidental that double-billing, or appearing in two places at once, is a sort of zombie-like sci-fi phenomenon relying on assumptions of material bodies and physical time and space. Also it’s related to labor and compensation practices and it’s at a hospital. So there are many zombie themes here. But it’s American Zombie because it’s related to public corruption. It’s a public hospital, and at the very least, something appears to be wrong with Cassidy’s filings to House Ethics.

Incidentally, “American Zombie” is not to be confused with “ZOMBIE: THE AMERICAN” a theatrical performance show coming next season to the Woolly Mammoth theatre thanks in part to a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. See Washington Post: “Kennedy Center program among several D.C.-area groups to win grants from NEA” by Peggy McGlone:

Other NEA grants include $60,000 to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for the world premiere of “Zombie: The American,”

And see Washington Post: “Next Season Preview: Woolly Mammoth Theatre” By Peter Marks

“Zombie: The American,” by Robert O’Hara, directed by Howard Shalwitz. (May 25-June 21, 2015)

noticed also coming to the Woolly next season:

“Famous Puppet Death Scenes” created and performed by the Old Trout Puppet Workshop. (Dec. 9-Jan. 4, 2015)

The Woolley Mammoth is located in Washington DC, so it makes sense that their show titles might have a political skew to appeal to their local audience, but it’s not every theatre that gets a 60k grant of federal money. We should probably wonder how cozy this theater’s relationship might be with their local partisans. Is this another case of political corruption?

Let’s also not confuse the American Zombie blog with the “Blog Zombie” by Lawrence White, starring John Byner, which aired on PBS this past summer and still currently available online at WMHT. And see Lawrence White’s explanation of his film at Times Union: “Blog Zombie on PBS“:

The good, bad and ugly occurs on blog time. It provides a sharp-focus snapshot of our society that is both revealing and challenging.

Is blog time like Matrix time? Speaking of movies, let’s conclude by not confusing any of this with “American Zombie” (2007) directed by Grace Lee:

mockumentary horror film … documentary filmmakers who investigate a fictional subculture of real-life zombies living in Los Angeles.

Which also reminds me also of L.A. Zombie (the gang and the queer cinema movie by Bruce La Bruce), which are clearly not the same as “American Zombie” in New Orleans, LA.

Zombie Wind PTC

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) represents Kansas’s 4th congressional district and has been reelected again to return in the 114th Congress. He wrote today in The Hill: “Congressman’s response to Sierra Club and union’s call to extend wind PTC“:

Kansans, like all Americans, love freedom and are willing to work hard creating real and lasting jobs for their families: they just want government to get out of their way, stop picking winners and losers and let them innovate.

The Wind Production Tax Credit has expired. It’s been out of our lives for nearly a year. Why on earth would we bring back this zombie tax favor at the expense of the wage earning families that can afford it the least?

zombie mike pompeo kansas

For context see Wikipedia: “United States Wind Energy Policy

See also the following non-zombie links:

NYtimes: “Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels” by Diane Cardwell, Nov. 23:

For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas. That day appears to be dawning.

Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire, but recent analyses show that even without those subsidies, alternative energies can often compete with traditional sources.

It’s time for wind tax credit to get blown away” by Thomas Pyle, a father and “Expert on all things energy” writes:

a vote for the tax credit is a vote for Obama’s climate change agenda. But there’s another important reason to reject the wind production tax credit: America’s largest and wealthiest corporations exploit the subsidy at taxpayers’ expense.

Both Pyle and Congressman Pompeo make reference to the same Warren Buffett quote, where Buffett says he only invested in wind because tax credits made it beneficial. This talking point seems to miss the point entirely, it’s not a useless subsidy if the businesses weren’t going to do it otherwise. This tax credit seems to be a real incentive to get change to happen. The climate is out of control, it’s changing and that’s terrifying and we don’t know what to do, so setting up ugly wind mills at least makes it seem like we are doing something! Now that it’s finally nearing competitiveness it’s not time to pull the plug, keep going and push the transition away from dirtier fuels!

Also, jobs! The go ploy of every bill, but this sounds like this is more jobs than the Keystone Pipeline and it’s cleaner.. See Huffington Post: “The Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Isn’t About Politics, It’s About People” by Mary Anne Hitt, Director, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign:

The PTC has expired and been renewed many times in the past, creating a boom bust cycle that isn’t healthy for any industry. The last time this happened, 5,000 jobs were lost and some developers seriously questioned America’s commitment to a clean energy future. It’s time to stop beating around the bush and tell Congress and wind energy investors that Americans want clean, wind energy and our energy policies should reflect that.

And the public likes it, see The Energy Collective: “New Poll Finds 73 Percent of Voters Support Crucial Tax Policy for Wind Energy” by Shauna Theel:

The Gotham Research Group poll found 73 percent of registered voters support continuing the Production Tax Credit (PTC), including 63 percent of registered Republicans, 74 percent of Independents, and over 71 percent overall in all regions of the country.

Ironically, Obama might have to veto it anyway, see Mother Jones: “Will Obama Pull the Plug on Wind Energy?” by Tim McDonnell:

President Obama threatened to veto a $440 billion package of tax breaks negotiated by a bipartisan group of legislators


Whatever tax deal Congress ultimately passes will probably include the PTC, says Jim Marston, vice president of US energy policy at the Environmental Defense Fund. Some of the credit’s biggest proponents are powerful Republicans from windy states, such as Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who said on the Senate floor last week that gutting the PTC “would cost jobs, harm our economy, the environment and our national security.” But a veto could mean a long delay—and more of the uncertainty that the wind industry fears.

Seems like the Kansan and Iowan republicans disagree about their wind credits? Is this a fault line within the Republican party, or are they setting up a lose-lose situation for President Obama. Maybe it’s actually a win-win. Who knows. Because yes, Ms. Hitt, it may be about people, but it’s clearly about politics.

Sioux City Journal: “Iowa wind energy tax credit under fire” by Erin Murphy:

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who authored the tax credit in 1992, says he is open to the eventual elimination of the incentive. But he says it should be phased out, not eliminated all at once.

“I know it won’t go on forever. It was never meant to, and it shouldn’t,” Grassley recently said in remarks on the U.S. Senate floor. “I’m happy to discuss a responsible, multi-year phase-out of the wind tax credit.

Contrast Wall Street Journal: “Wind Power Is Intermittent, But Subsidies Are Eternal” By Tim Phillips:

Over the past seven years, the PTC has cost taxpayers $7.3 billion, and it is expected to pay out $2.4 billion more in 2015.

The program operates as one of America’s least-known wealth-redistribution schemes, forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for wind farms beyond their borders.

Is that really the problem, or is this mostly big business oil-coal interests holding on to power. See, The Hill: “Americans for Prosperity urges Congress to reject wind tax credits” by Laura Barron-Lopez:

The conservative Americans for Prosperity is pressing Congress to oppose an extension of tax credits for the wind power industry.

Is it about innovation or prosperity? All we are is dust in the anthropocene.


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