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True North Archives - March 24, 2009
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Featured Articles

The Murder of Federalism
By John McClaughry

"Being the dependents of the general government, and looking to its treasury as the source of all their emoluments, the state officers would, in effect, be the mere stipendiaries and instruments of the central power."

Now, 176 years later, another Democratic President, urged on by an enthusiastic Democratic Congress, has revived Distribution in the guise of Stimulus. A major difference is that in Jackson's day the national debt was reduced to zero, and the question was what to do with surplus revenues. Today the national debt is astronomical, and the question is how fast the government can borrow - or print - money to increase it by yet more trillions.

Read Our Lips - NO NEW TAXES !
By Rob Skinner

And when you think there's not a thing left to tax - along comes  House Bill 399 proposed by two Democrats - "An act [tax] relating to the establishment of a vehicle miles traveled fee [tax]." This is yet another financial burden to be leveled against all Vermonters that will again lessen their, and particularly middle to low income citizens, quality of life.

By Martin Harris

Economist Milton Friedman and spouse Rose set up the –what else?—Friedman Foundation for the study of education, primarily the public system, and primarily with a pro-school-choice focus, and it, together with local school-focussed Vermonters for Better Education,  commissioned a modest study (1200 respondents) by  Atlanta-based polling outfit Strategic Vision.  A VBE press release neatly spans the thus-revealed opinion divide between those who think Vermont’s K-12 system is remarkably superior to any parallel efforts elsewhere in time or space, and those who think it isn’t:  "A plurality of Vermonters believe their public schools are "good or excellent", but nearly nine out of ten would send their children to private, charter, or virtual schools, or educate them in a home setting". But then here are the actual numbers for citizen/parent/taxpayer responses to the "if you could select any type of school, what type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?" question:

Private school   44% (church or secular)
Charter school   26% (public but with extra management discretion)
Public               11% (public with the standard K-12 objectives)
Virtual                2% (on-line to students at home or in classrooms)
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This Week’s Mail Bag

Open letter to Reps. Sue Minter and Diane Lanpher & all the folks in the State House;

What are you thinking?  Taxing hard-working Vermonters on every mile they drive?  Your proposed bill, H.399, intends to tax us on our vehicle mileage every time we pull in for our annual inspection.  This inane bill is going to INCREASE, not balance, the state budget, creating layer-upon-layer of bureaucracy.  Staff will be needed to maintain this database.  Mounds of paperwork will be needed for forms, record-keeping, notices, public announcements, etc.

Oh, and lest I neglect to mention, the burden for collecting this tax will fall upon mechanics.  What do you suppose is going to happen to their prices when they have to take on more paperwork, using up more of their time and staff to jump through your hoops?  You probably didn't guess this, but they will likely need to increase their prices, once again increasing the financial burden on We, The People.

We, The People, are already taxed when we buy or sell a vehicle, when we purchase gasoline for it, and when we have it repaired or serviced.  Why on earth do you need to steal more of our hard-earned money?  Are you trying to force us to revert to horses and buggies?  More burden on the folks just trying to get to and from work to pay our already-ridiculous taxes is NOT the way to balance the budget.

This bill may appear to be small potatoes, increasing our tax burden by $30 for every 5,000 miles driven per year (a modest number of miles) -- but consider that some families have more than one car, some people commute many miles to work, and some folks might even be trying to plan (*gasp!*) a small vacation once in a while.  This mileage cost will also affect car rental agencies and transportation at all levels, such as the trucks that bring food to grocery stores and tankers bringing fuel to gas stations.  This is huge, much larger than a single-family vehicle; it will have repercussions and consequences far outside the individual voter's garage.

Please abandon this dangerous and foolish bill and try very hard to remember who is paying your salary.  That would be We, The People.  Perhaps you could attempt to balance the budget the way We, The People, balance our checkbooks here at home: by eliminating waste and spending less on non-essentials.  Perhaps you should've considered voting YEA on the modest 5% congressional pay cut a while back.  Try cutting yourselves back a little, like the rest of us have to in order to make ends meet.

To the rest of you fine folks in Montpelier, please reject this bill should it ever make it out of committee.  And to the voters out there, please look up H.399 to learn more about it for yourselves.

Trying to keep it simple in Springfield,
Kelly Stettner

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A Question that is Being Avoided

I find it remarkable that what distinguishes homosexuals and heterosexuals is the way they have sex and yet this topic is being diligently avoided by both sides.  Because I have children, I am very interested in the impact gay marriage would have on health classes in schools.  If Vermont says gay marriage is equivalent to what we now call marriage, then we will need to teach children about homosexual sex since we teach them about heterosexual sex (otherwise that would be discrimination).  I don't see this issue being addressed by the legislature or the media and yet I'm sure most parents would want to know about these consequences of legalizing gay marriage.

Kelly Bartlett


"The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of Giant ENRON - a Huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers."

-- Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stones Magazine

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Pro-family Vermonters Speak Out at the Statehouse
Written by one of our readers who is a former journalist and wanted to record what pro-family people said on March 18th.

The following is a synopsis of Vermonters who spoke Wednesday, March 18 before legislators in the well of the Vermont Statehouse in support of traditional marriage and in opposition to S-115, the gay marriage bill. They spoke before what several veteran statehouse journalists and lobbyists believe to be the largest crowd that has ever gathered for one issue at the Vermont Statehouse. The pro-gay marriage crowd was larger than our side and apparently well-funded and organized, as demonstrated by the field team of "crowd marshalls" with headphones and mikes scattered throughout the Statehouse. The crowd filled the House chamber, the cafeteria, several hallways, and two large meeting rooms downstairs.

LSC Goes Conservative?
By Aimee Lawton, The Critic: Lyndon State College, March 13, 2009

Students at Lyndon State now have the opportunity to show off their conservative side. Budgeting planning for next semester is in full swing, and many new clubs are stepping on to the scene, and making their debut on campus. One such club is the Lyndon State College Republicans, affiliated with other College Republican organizations throughout the state of Vermont.

New Tough Sex Offender Law? Is That So?
Caledonia Record Editorial, March 23, 2009

One more time, the court has let a child sex offender off the hook for jail time and settled for a plea agreement with no incarceration. Yet, the offender, a bus driver, pleaded guilty to fondling the genitals of children throughout a school year. He actually had them sitting in his lap while he was driving.

The Bills Are Coming Due
From Vermont Tiger – March 23, 2009

Rising mandatory expenditures in the state of Vermont mean that there are fewer discretionary dollars to support important programs to serve needy Vermonters. And in these difficult economic times, that is unfortunate news indeed. Yet, these "promises" made to certain constituencies must be kept. At issue, however, between debt service, retirement plans for state employees and teachers, and other post-employment benefits, is that those promises have become unsustainable. It is time to recognize the nature and severity of the problem and begin talking about how to change from the path we’re on.

Instant Runoff Voting Is Anti-Democratic
Caledonia Record Editorial, March 20, 2009

If you need convincing evidence that Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is undemocratic, pay attention to what happened in Burlington, which embraces IRV, at their last city elections. IRV is the practice of counting into the totals, second and third choice candidates if the first winner of the contest doesn't get a majority (50 percent plus one of those voting).

"Global Warming Team Stranded by Cold Weather"
From Vermont Tiger, March 23, 2009

Umm…. one really does have to wonder about the sanity of these people, particularly in this day and age of the Interweb Tubes - anyone can quickly look at the temperatures in the cold regions - e.g., with just a few mouse clicks, I can see that right now the temperature at Resolute, the Canadian outpost high in the Arctic Archipelago, is -36F. Thus... why was any of this a big surprise to them?

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Is this the end of America?
U.S. law-making is riddled with slapdash, incompetence and gamesmanship
By Terence Corcora, Financial Post, March 19, 2009

Helicopter Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve is dropping trillions of fresh paper dollars on the world economy, the President of the United States is cracking jokes on late night comedy shows, his energy minister is threatening a trade war over carbon emissions, his treasury secretary is dithering over a banking reform program amid rising concerns over his competence and a monumentally dysfunctional U.S. Congress is launching another public jihad against corporations and bankers.??As an aghast world — from China to Chicago and Chihuahua — watches, the circus-like U.S. political system seems to be declining into near chaos. Through it all, stock and financial markets are paralyzed. The more the policy regime does, the worse the outlook gets. The multi-ringed spectacle raises a disturbing question in many minds: Is this the end of America?

Muslim Leaders Offer to Guard Scottish Shul
From Crown Heights, March 19, 2009

Muslim leaders have offered to stand guard outside a Scottish synagogue after it was vandalised in an alleged anti-Semitic attack.

Exclusive: Islamism vs Nationalism?
By Manda Zand-Ervin, Family Security Matters, March 19, 2009

Ayatollah Roohollah Khomeini said: "Those who say that we want nationalism, they are standing against Islam. . . . We have no use for the nationalists. Muslims are only useful for us. Islam is against nationality. . . ."

The facts are that the large majority of Iranians are opposed to the nuclear bomb. In their demonstrations the Iranian labors who had not been paid for months chanted, "Yes to jobs, no to bombs." The placards held by the women and student movements are proof of their opposition to the nuclear program of the regime.

The Knock on the Door
By Lona Manning, American Thinker, March 18, 2009

So we have a Movement -- this is their term, not mine -- organized by, and loyal to, a sitting President. Pledge canvassers, armed with your name, will ask you to pledge loyalty to the President too. A president whose term has already become a permanent campaign, is signing up ground forces in a mass organization pledged to personal loyalty to their Leader. Does anyone know of any historical precedents for this in the United States? Did Mitch Stewart, youthful director of OFA, who asks Obama's acolytes to organize "neighborhood by neighborhood"  study anything at school about Mao's "Red Guards?

Protectionism in the Name of Global Warming Regulations
From the Heritage Foundation, March 19th, 2009

Protectionism is always bad policy. But protectionism during an economic downturn, after taxes have already risen, and in addition to a massive $2 trillion tax on energy consumption is, well, not good. Yet that is exactly what Energy Secretary David Chu seems to be edging towards. In response to the notion that American companies will move overseas when CO2 is capped, Secretary Chu suggested that the U.S. simply levy a carbon tariff on imports.

A Jihadist Speaks Bluntly in This Revealing Video

Anyone (like Barack Obama) entertaining ideas of western democracies establishing friendly relations with the radicals of the Islamic world should watch this video.While watching the inflammatory rhetoric of the speaker, remember that this is not a Jihadists from Iran but a professor from Kuwait - a country with every reason to be grateful to the USA for liberating it from the tyranny of Saddam Husseins invasion.

Related:  Happy New Year, Mullahs: Obama's Message of Weakness

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From Elsewhere

What the Pros Say: US Is Now 'Bankrupt'
From CNBC, March 19, 2009

Technically, the U.S. is already "bankrupt" because it has a debt that is almost four times the size of its economy, says Puru Saxena, CEO of Puru Saxena Wealth Management. He tells CNBC that the U.S. is at risk of hyperinflation.

Obama Received a $101,332 Bonus from AIG
From The Examiner, March 17 2009

Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are - Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama.

List Of Earmarks In Latest Spending Bill
By John McCain,, March 17, 2009

Obama's latest Omnibus bill, signed into law on March 11, 2009, contained app. 9,000 earmarks. Here is a floor statement made by Sen. McCain on H.R. 1105, The Omnibus Appropriations Act...

Time for Steele to go as RNC chair
By Star Parker, TownHall, March 16, 2009

From what I see, the Republican National Committee representatives who picked Michael Steele as their new chairman made a mistake. I think Steele ought to step aside.

The State of the Fourth Estate
By Jordan Ballor, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, March 18 2009

Journalism, like so much else today, is in crisis. Declining ad revenues and subscriptions, the popularity of Internet news, as well as lowered public trust in the mainstream press, have created the perfect storm for the demise of old media. The 2009 State of the News Media report from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23 percent in the last two years. Some papers are in bankruptcy, and others have lost three-quarters of their value. By Pew's calculations, "nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet."

Obama’s Budget Builds on Bush Precedents (pdf)
By Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy, Cato Institute, March 2009

President Barack Obama has introduced his federal budget plan for the coming years, and it includes large increases in spending, taxes, and debt.1 The Obama plan includes the costs of recent financial bailouts and the stimulus package, but it also foresees a long-term increase in regular domestic spending. The plan builds on spending precedents set by President Bush, and would boost nondefense outlays to a record share of the economy.

School Funding Doesn't Add Up
Marcus Winters, The Washington Times, March 20, 2009 

It's unfortunate that any teachers at all are losing their jobs for no other reason than the financial situation, but it's outrageous that the cuts will come without any thought given to which teachers would be least missed.

The powerful collective-bargaining agreements that govern teacher employment in just about every public school system in the United States leave little to no discretion to these systems in deciding which teachers should get the axe when times are tough. Public school layoffs occur by seniority. Teacher classroom success plays no role in determining who stays or who goes. 

Related: Lessons of Charter Schools

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