Home > Uncategorized > No Bills of Attainder?

No Bills of Attainder?

I’m not really sure if this situation really constitutes a bill of attainder, but it seems pretty goddamn close to me.

When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.

That seems okay right? I mean, it may be ridiculous, it might even be harmful, who knows, but its not legislation declaring an entity guilty. There’s more though:

But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.

Emphasis mine. I question how this can possibly be a legal thing to do. This isn’t a case of being able to do something, and not doing it. It isn’t a case of failing to devote enough resources to retrofit machinery, it is a requirement that is impossible to meet. I don’t even need to start a ramble about what the proper role of government is, it doesn’t matter here. Even assuming that the proper role of government is to make rules about every thing we wish to consume and hawk over each decision, no matter how big or small, there is no decision to be made by anyone, no alternative except to be fined.

Imagine Congress passed a law requiring you to go to Jupiter or pay a penalty of X thousands of dollars. What would you think of that? You can’t possibly do it. It isn’t a matter of choice, it isn’t a matter of irresponsibility, you just cannot do it.

I don’t expect to see many supposed science fiends mention this, but how this is anything other than a total disregard for the reality of what is currently possible on a commercial scale, and punitive from the word go, with no chance of compliance, is beyond me.

It’s one thing to penalize a company that has received a contract or a grant or something of that nature for failing to do something impossible. Imagine if the government is looking to award a contract for research into cellulosic biofuels, with several performance marks along the way. If you get the contract, or it might be a grant or something, you are agreeing that you think you can meet certain deadlines. When you fail to do so, even if they are impossible, that’s your problem for agreeing that you could meet the stated goals.

In this case, to hell with what is possible, if you don’t get your ass to Jupiter and bring back some Jupiter rocks, there is a going to be trouble.

Oh well. The world is going to end in December anyway.


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