North Archives - February 12, 2008
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over a New LEAF
by John McClaughry
discontent with the rising burden of property taxes for education constantly
prods lawmakers to find some less expensive way to skin the education financing
cat. Last week three House Republicans unveiled yet another attempt to
slay the residential property tax monster. It's called LEAF, for Local
Education Affordability Formula. Its principal attraction is the repeal
of the current state education residential property tax imposed in 1997
by Act 60.
Taxing Capital Gains
By Bruce Shields
The Vermont House is now
discussing an increase in the tax on capital gains. The premises
for increasing this tax are wrong, and raising the tax rate may very well
cause actual tax collections to drop. The capital gains tax is a direct
tax on capital assets, and as such has a very corrosive effect on business
and on investment.
Specter of Tyranny
By Deborah T. Bucknam
Eighty years ago, President
Calvin Coolidge, in a rare show of emotion, spoke of his beloved Vermont
home while touring the state in the wake of the devastation of the 1927
flood. He concluded his remarks as follows:
"If the spirit of liberty
should vanish in other parts of the union and support of our institutions
should languish, It could all be replenished from the generous store held
by the people of this brave little state of Vermont."
How heartsick President Coolidge
would be to learn that today in Vermont not only has the generous store
of liberty been depleted, but the specter of tyranny has begun to possess
a corner of Vermont. The Select board of Brattleboro has succumbed to the
totalitarian instincts of some of its citizens and placed on the town meeting
ballot a petition that would authorize the town to indict and arrest President
Bush and Vice President Cheney. Their crimes? Toppling a Fascist mass murderer,
liberating 25 million Iraqis, and taking military action against those
who use the vilest methods to torture and kill innocent civilians.
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Week’s Mail Bag
a Threat to Liberty and Traditional Values
I stumbled across your Conservative
seeming website and subscribed to your newsletter. Are you aware that Thomas
Koch introduced a bill to deny 600,000 citizens the right to coffee and
a cigarette on the way to work? He certainly is a Republican dedicated
to limited government! There was already a law against operating a vehicle
in an unsafe manner. Do you know the status of this bill? He should never
live this down. I'm sure it was "for the children" like most of the flapdoodle
Republicans in name only proffer.
Below is the coda from his
latest communiqué in your newsletter:
"I wish I cold tell you
that this exhausts the list of foolish ideas. Alas, no such luck.
It’s just that I’m out of space. And the sooner the legislature runs not
out of space, but out of time, the safer the people will be. In too many
areas, this place is being run by zealots—facts and reason make no difference.
Just take an idea and run it through, with no concern for the consequences."
The societal obsession with
heath and safety today is PATHOLOGICAL and as dangerous to liberty and
traditional values as anything imaginable.
Vincent K Taggart
Bellows Falls, VT
"And whatever else history
may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to
your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your
doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's
lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. My fondest
hope for each one of you — and especially for young people — is that you
will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness
and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding
to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little
better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget
your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose
your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may
every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring
us closer to that shining city upon a hill." —Ronald Reagan
(Editor’s note: We offer
this quote in honor of President Reagan’s recent birthday on February 6th)
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Weekly News Round-Up
Close The Loopholes...
From VermontTiger.com, February
The governor's plan to eliminate
an exemption on the first 40% of capital gains from taxation by the state
was greeted with mixed reviews. Here
Cairn Cross, the state's lone
venture capitalist, and a Vermont Tiger contributer, had
this pithy reaction to the governor's proposal:
As someone who is in business
of primarily investing in Vermont companies (for an expected capital gain)
this is perhaps the dumbest idea for taxation I have ever heard.
Which certainly clears the
School Daze - A Heartbreaking Dilemma
Caledonian Record Editorial,
It really is time for a total
reorganization of the way we pay for education in Vermont. Acts 60 and
68 are a total failure. The little crises are gathering momentum toward
becoming a big crisis. We must forestall it while we still can.
School Funding Plan Proposed
By Nancy Remsen, Burlington
Free Press, February 7, 2008
Three Republican House members
outlined a dramatic restructuring of the way Vermonters pay for schools
Wednesday. It included elimination of the 11-year-old, statewide residential
Course in Economics
From VermontTiger.com, February
Economics is known as the
"dismal" science (sorry, Art). Perhaps this is why many people on the Left
have failed to grasp its basic truths. Truths such as --
Government does not produce
wealth. Rather, it taxes private property to sustain itself.
The higher taxes are, the more
they harm the prospects for wealth creation. Lower tax rates translate
into more economic activity, more wealth creation, and higher tax
receipts for the state's coffers.
Government largesse is no substitute
for job creation by the private sector.
Excessive regulation is a drag
on economic growth and job creation.
Micro-management from a central
point (read Montpelier) is usually inferior to local control over local
Social engineers and planners
working for the state hinder individual initiative and degrade individual
Upside Down Wrong Solution
Caledonian Record Editorial,
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Sending a check to every
taxpayer to forestall a threatened recession is a thoroughly bad idea.
Had the politicians quietly discussed and debated their bailout plan on
the right issue - i.e. can a universal dole prevent economic hard times
- they would have come to that conclusion, but they didn't. Instead, they
panicked, just like the runners in a race, all of whom start running when
one of them jumps the gun, except, in a footrace, the official fires the
gun again to stop the false start. Nobody fired the gun in this false start,
and we are now running in the wrong race. Our political runners ran right
over the necessary discussion to the conclusion that they would send money
to their constituents.
Vermont's Failed Model
From VermontTiger.com, February
Let’s talk about education,
shall we? Over half of the state and local taxes collected in Vermont
go to pay for K through 12 education. This datum leads one, inevitably,
to ask, "Well, are we getting our money’s worth?"
Admittedly, there are people
in Vermont who think it is rude to ask such questions. Who believe
that cost/benefit analysis is unfeeling and cold and that the people who
think in those terms are not concerned enough with matters that go beyond
mere dollars and cents. But taxes do impose a hardship on the people
who pay them and it seems reasonable to ask if those who spend the money
are getting results. So, are they?
Well, going by this
account in today's Freeps, the answer has to be,
"No, not really." And for a change, among the people who are saying
this (in qualified fashion, to be sure) are those who actually spend the
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
By Amil Imani, February
Fire, arguably, is important
to life after air, water, and food. Fire, broadly defined, is energy. And
energy runs the world. It fuels the body, operates the mind, heats homes,
and runs endless machines and instruments.
When energy is put to good
use, it is the boon of mankind. And when it is misused or abused it is
the bane of humanity. Therefore, credit or blame rests with the user of
Religion is a special case
of energy in the same way that steam is a derivation of fire. Steam engines
move mass in physical space. Religion, emotional energy, propels people’s
mind in the metaphysical realm.
Civilized societies have
rules and regulations, albeit many of them flawed and imperfect, which
regulate energy use. The fire of religion must also be contained in such
a manner to do whatever good it may be able to do and prevent it from becoming
a consuming wildfire.
The delicate successes in Iraq.
By Rich Lowry, National
Review, February 8, 2008
Greeted as liberators" has
become one of the most scoffed-at phrases of the Iraq war, a symbol of
glib assurances of success belied by reality. But a top U.S. general here
plays on the phrase in describing security gains during the past year.
"In some ways," he says, "our soldiers have come to be seen as re-liberators."
"Moderates" - What's in a Word?
By Bruce Thornton, VDH's
Private Papers, February 6, 2008
war against Islamic jihad continues to be compromised in the West by the
dominant narrative that supposedly makes sense of the conflict. In this
scenario, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful moderates, while the
jihadists exploit a distortion of Islam fueled by modern discontents. To
the left, these discontents are created by Western neo-imperialist and
neo-colonialist adventurism, oil-industry greed, a culture-destroying globalization,
irrational "Islamophobia" and "Orientalism," and continuing support for
Israel’s "occupation" of Muslim territory and thwarting of Palestinian
nationalist aspirations. To the right, a lack of political freedom and
economic development dashes Muslim hopes for a better life and leaves them
prey to jihadist propaganda. Both interpretations, however, are based on
the Defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq (updated)
By Ray Robison, The American
Thinker, February 8, 2008
Al Qaeda appears to be crumbling
in Iraq, a spectacular victory in the War on Terror. A senior leader has
his soul to Amit R. Paley of the Washington Post, painting a
vivid picture of what the surge has done to al Qaeda in Iraq. Here are
some notable points from Paley's excellent article.
he Wishes On Us is an Abomination
By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown,
The Independent, February 9, 2008
What Rowan Williams wishes
upon us is an abomination and I write here as a modern Muslim woman. He
lectures the nation on the benefits of sharia law – made by bearded men,
for men – and wants the alternative legal system to be accommodated within
our democracy in the spirit of inclusion and cohesion.
Pray tell me sir, how do
separate and impenetrable courts and schools and extreme female segregation
promote commonalities and deep bonds between citizens of these small isles?
What he did on Thursday was
to convince other Britons, white, black and brown, that Muslims want not
equality but exceptionalism and their own domains. Enlightened British
Muslims quail. Friends like this churchman do us more harm than our many
enemies. He passes round what he believes to be the benign libation of
tolerance. It is laced with arsenic.
Related article: The
Archbishop's Sharia Amour
News! Shari'a Law in
The Jawa Report February
The Second Court of Appeals
of the State of Texas has rendered
a ruling on the enforceability of shari'a judgments rendered by imams.
According to the Texas appeals court, it's all good.
You've heard of the Texas
Courts. Ladies and gentlemen, make way for the Texas Islamic
# # #
By Roy Innis, TownHall.com,
February 2, 2008
Congress and the White House,
Democrats and Republicans finally agree on something! We need a stimulus
package, they intone. The economy is stagnating, unemployment is climbing,
families can’t pay their bills. We have to prime the pump, reduce interest
rates, increase unemployment benefits, provide temporary tax relief.
These unlicensed physicians
are prescribing aspirin to counteract the poisons they routinely inject
into our economy, while they prepare even bigger doses of arsenic. Every
one of these supposed shots of economic adrenaline is counteracted by toxic
policies that drive up prices, cause layoffs and put families on energy
welfare. It would be laughable, if it weren’t so hypocritical.
Could Become the Reagan of Fiscal Discipline
By Deroy Murdock,
Human Events, February 8, 2008
Before my more conservative
friends start leaping from buildings over Senator John McCain’s presidential
primary victories, let me try to coax them back in from the ledge. Despite
his myriad apostasies (e.g. McCain-Feingold’s free-speech limits, anti-ANWR-oil-drilling
votes, a mixed tax-cut record, creeping Kyotoism, and cold feet on waterboarding),
the Arizona Republican could do for fiscal responsibility what Ronald Reagan
did for tax relief.
Thanks to the Gipper, tax
reduction is as central to the Republican faith as the Resurrection is
to Christianity. True, McCain heretically opposed President Bush’s 2001
and 2003 tax cuts. However, he now appears penitent and observant. He proposes
to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent and slice corporate taxes from 35 to
25 percent, among other reforms.
But in terms of limited-government,
today’s GOP recalls the Roman Catholic Church’s excesses before the Reformation
of 1517. For nearly a decade, Republicans have indulged in a spending bacchanal
that shredded their moral authority and shocked Republican true believers.
Like a latter-day Martin Luther, a President McCain may nail his own "95
Theses" to the U.S. Capitol’s front door and shame Congress, before it
Recovery from the Little Ice Age and Global Warming
By Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu,
The New American
A roughly linear global temperature
increase of about 0.5°C per 100 years seems to have occurred from about
1800, or even much earlier, to the present. This value may be compared
with what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists consider
to be the manmade greenhouse effect of 0.6°C per 100 years. This long-lasting
linear warming trend is likely to be a natural change.
One possible cause of the
linear increase may be Earth’s continuing recovery from the Little Ice
Age. This trend (0.5°C/100 years) should be subtracted from the temperature
data during the last 100 years when estimating the manmade contribution
to the present global warming trend. Thus, there is a possibility that
only a fraction of the present warming trend is attributable to the greenhouse
effect resulting from human activities. This conclusion is contrary to
the 2007 IPCC Report (p.10), which states that "most" of the present warming
is due to the manmade greenhouse effect.
Ethanol May Add to Global Warming
From Newsmax.com, February
The widespread use of ethanol
from corn could result in nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as
the gasoline it would replace because of expected land-use changes, researchers
concluded Thursday. The study challenges the rush to biofuels as a response
to global warming.
Sun Also Sets
From Investor's Business
Daily, February 07, 2008
Back in 1991, before Al Gore
first shouted that the Earth was in the balance, the Danish Meteorological
Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed
that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles.
To many, those data were
convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for
more and better "eyes" with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger
impact on Earth's climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our
And they're worried about
global cooling, not warming.
Can't Control The Economy
By Robert Samuelson, Investor's
Business Daily, Tuesday, February 05
As the economy weakens and
the campaign intensifies, we'll hear more of James Carville's familiar
refrain: It's the economy, stupid. Well, it ain't — or, at least, shouldn't
I'm not claiming that Carville
is wrong about voting. People vote their pocketbooks. In the latest Washington
Post-ABC News poll, the economy overshadows Iraq as the most important
issue by a 39% to 19% margin. What I'm saying is that this sort of voting
is shortsighted. It rewards or punishes candidates for something beyond
their power. We have a $14 trillion economy. The idea that presidents can
control it lies between an exaggeration and an illusion.
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