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True North Archives - February 12, 2008
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Radio archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited time only). True North Radio airs daily on WDEV AM & WDEV FM from 11 am to noon.

Featured Articles

Turning over a New LEAF
by John McClaughry

Taxpayer 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.

On 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.

The 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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This Week’s Mail Bag

Pathological Obsession 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

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"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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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Quick, Close The Loopholes...
From, February 04, 2008

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 and 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 air.

VT School Daze - A Heartbreaking Dilemma
Caledonian Record Editorial, 2/5/08

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.

New 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 property tax.

A Course in Economics
From, February 06, 2008

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 matters.
  • Social engineers and planners working for the state hinder individual initiative and degrade individual freedom.

An 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.

Education: Vermont's Failed Model
From, February 06, 2008

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 money.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Religion is Fire
By Amil Imani, February 5, 2008

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 energy. 

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. 

Re-Liberators: 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."

Muslim "Moderates" - What's in a Word?
By Bruce Thornton, VDH's Private Papers, February 6, 2008

The 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 unfounded assumptions.

Detailing 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 bared 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.

What 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

Good News! Shari'a Law in London Texas!
The Jawa Report February 08, 2008

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 Courts!!!

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From Elsewhere

Poisoning the Economy
By Roy Innis,, 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.

McCain 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 spends again.

The 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.

Study: Ethanol May Add to Global Warming
From, February 9, 2008

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.

The 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 planet combined.

And they're worried about global cooling, not warming.

Presidents 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 be.

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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