North Archives - May 15, 2007
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vs VY (part I)
By Martin Harris
some years now, Vermont’s movers and shakers have had a difficult time
with the dumber among us. Not a failed school bond or budget vote happens,
that isn’t followed by anguished introspection among the beautiful people:
Oh, if only we had better and earlier explained the importance of it, so
that "those people" who (unfortunately) get to vote on such things, could
have had the extra time they need to understand and comprehend all the
wonderful goals we’re trying so nobly to accomplish…and so on.
By Pete Behr
Howdy, folks. I just returned
from a good will trip to France and Morocco. Since our image is not what
it should be, and our politicians are not doing anything about it, I decided
to improve things, at no taxpayer expense.
or the appearance of corruption:
IS calling the shots?
By Rob Roper
Last summer, Vermont’s campaign
finance laws were declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, and
they were thrown out. Today, a new campaign finance reform bill is making
its way through the Statehouse. Its primary supporter, VPIRG, claims the
restrictions on Vermonters’ First Amendment rights that would result from
the new bill are necessary to eliminate "corruption or the appearance of
corruption" in Vermont politics. They are also supposed to reduce
undue influence by any "single source" over the political process. Events
of this past week should give Vermonters pause before taking VPIRG at its
An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
By Rep. Thomas F. Koch,
These are dangerous days
in the legislature. We are hoping to adjourn today, and on the one hand,
the sooner we get out of town, the safer it will be for the people, especially
those among "the people" who pay taxes. On the other hand, in the rush
to adjourn, a lot of pet projects and bad ideas can get inserted into conference
committee reports and passed into law before most legislators figure out
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
Stop Feeding the "Petri
Dish" of Envy
Traditional democrats, moderate
republicans and independents must band together and defeat the dangerous
"radical progressivism" that has gripped Vermont. They should also
take notice of two seemingly independent events: the proposed Vermont Yankee
"shakedown tax" and France's election of the center-right, free-market
orientated Nicolas Sarkozy over Socialist Segolene Royal.
For years, France's economy
has stifled under oppressive business regulation, taxes, union work rules
and an entitlement welfare mentality. This has produced some of Europe’s
worst outcomes: anemic economic growth and double-digit unemployment rates.
Vermont has been following
in France's footsteps and it's time for change. Like France, Vermont's
radical progressivism has been fomenting class warfare, hatred of corporatism
and the evils of the free-market system; the very system that has brought
us the prosperity and spoils we now fight over. Senator Shumlin's
proposed Vermont Yankee tax feeds into this "petri dish" of envy.
Vermonters must reject radical
progressivism and the politicians that have been stoking its envious flames.
Leaders who promote an entrepreneurial, dynamic and economic growth orientated
culture will bring the kind of jobs and economic security that Vermonters
want. Property is initially derived from one’s labor, without jobs there
is no need for labor and thus no opportunity for Vermonters to acquire
property and wealth. Our government has a moral obligation to provide its
citizens with the equality of opportunity necessary to earn an honest and
decent living; this should be considered a basic human right. It's
time to demand the kind of economic and productivity growth needed to achieve
The writer will be a State
Senate candidate representing Chittenden County in 2008
* * *
The natural law of taxation
Dear Friends: I take
it you do not want energy in Vermont any more. There is a natural
law of taxation. It is: "you want more of something, lower the taxes on
it. You want less of something, raise the taxes on it". I guess you
want less availability of energy in Vermont. We will take all of
that into consideration.
"[Y]ou’d think this dramatic
fiscal turnaround would cheer up Capitol Hill. Instead, Congressional Democrats
seem to live in a parallel universe — one that they claim is starved for
revenues, with a runaway deficit, and is dominated by the rich who pay
no taxes at all. The reality is that the wealthy are financing Democratic
spending ambitions, and the deficit could easily vanish within a year or
two if Congress has the good sense to leave current tax policy in place.
- Wall Street Journal (read
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
A bridge too far even
By John McClaughry, Wall
Street Journal, May 13, 2007
So the passionate drive to
get Vermont's legislature to be the first in the nation to call for impeaching
the president came up short. And the credit for that goes to the 39 Democrats,
some moderate but most of them liberal, who agreed with the very liberal
congressional delegation of this state that this "metaphor for outrage"
was not a good idea.
Shumlin's Got To Go
Caledonian Record Editorial,
May 8, 2007
Sen. Peter Shumlin has no
credibility. His ethics reek of arrogance. His track record in the Senate
is one of denial and deceit. He has to go. The Democratic power structure
in the state has two choices: Get rid of him or continue to embrace him
with the ethical stink that he exudes and that will surely rub off on them.
The Fine Print
Caledonian Record Editorial,
May 11, 2007
The next two weeks are fraught
with danger for Vermont taxpayers. The Legislature is trying to wrap things
up and when they do that, bills and issues move with great haste. Both
the House and the Senate suspend the rules routinely in order to move business
along faster than ordinary. When that happens there is optimum opportunity
for lawmakers to slip their own issues that didn't or wouldn't survive
the scrutiny of the usual snail's pace of committees into last minute rush
leadership in talks about school funding
Burlington Free Press Editorial,
May 11, 2007
The flurry of proposals to
hold down school spending that appeared Wednesday included two -- from
the Legislature and the Douglas administration -- that are stunning for
their disconnect from the problems they are supposed to solve.
Ho-Hums And A Yawn
Caledonian Record Editorial,
May 12, 2007
The House/Senate conference
committee who are supposed to come up with an acceptable compromise on
education spending reform have come up with four different proposals. They
amount to three ho-hums and a yawn.
Lawmakers pursue yet another new tax for climate change initiative
WCAX, May 9, 2007
Another proposal designed
to pay for lawmakers' cherished global climate change initiative was unveiled
Tuesday and, like the others, it would apply primarily to the Vermont Yankee
nuclear power plant.
fight to hold advertisers as TV-watching drops off
By David Bauder, The Associated
Press, May 9, 2007
In TV's worst spring in recent
memory, an alarming number of Americans drifted away from television the
past two months: More than 2.5 million fewer people were watching ABC,
CBS, NBC and Fox than at the same time last year, statistics show. Everyone
has a theory to explain the plummeting ratings: early Daylight Saving Time;
more reruns; bad shows; more shows being recorded, downloaded or streamed.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Case for Hegemony
By Robert T. McLean, American
Thinker, May 10, 2007
In fact, it was largely the
example of the tumultuous environment of 19th century Europe
that molded America's earliest perceptions of a proper security environment.
What was essentially conceived by George Washington and was later refined
by John Quincy Adams, American leaders have long sought to avoid entangling
the nation in any sort of foreign policy based on balance of power. Expressing
his deep seated reluctance for any type of balance of power in the Western
Hemisphere, Adams noted in 1811 that were the United States not to emerge
as the hegemon of the Americas, "we shall have an endless multitude of
little insignificant clans and tribe at eternal war with one another for
a rock or a fish pond, the sport and fable of European masters and oppressors."
Multipolarity, in the absence of a global congruence of interests and widespread
cooperation, will inevitably lead to such a situation the world over.
Another straw on the
back of the proverbial American camel.
By Victor Davis Hanson,
National Review Online, May 11, 2007
The aggrieved Islamist, whether
born here or abroad, lives in a world of emotion, never reason, in which
pride, envy, and a sense of inferiority always trump logic. When, as an
individual or collectively, he constructs someone or something culpable
for his own — or his people’s — sense of failure, then a primordial urge
to lash out follows. His mind returns to the seventh-century never-never
land of scimitars and sharia law mixed in with rote chanting of "Allah
Akbar!" while his body and material appetites are stranded in our cosmos
of Baywatch reruns and professors on the BBC and CNN whining on
about the dangers of Islamaphobia. What, then, are the catalysts for the
al Qaedist that turn him from hothouse anti-Americanism to deadly violence?
to Fear but Polls Themselves?
The Iraqi political
class is showing a lot more courage than the American political class.
by William Kristol, The
Weekly Standard, 05/21/2007
These same Republican congressmen
presumed--at the very same meeting--to criticize Iraqi politicians. Yet
the Iraqi political class is showing a lot more courage than the American
political class. They risk assassination. Our politicians risk electoral
defeat. Yet it is our politicians who panic--and do so shamelessly and
abjectly. And stupidly. Do the Republicans who want Bush to cut and run
really think they would benefit if Iraq were to blow up, with U.S. troops
helplessly standing by watching the slaughter, the full spectacle of American
defeat unfolding before the American people? Here is a fine posture for
a Republican to assume in 2008: I voted for the war, and then I voted for
the surrender. Who in their right mind would vote for such a person?
We Got Right in Iraq
By L. Paul Bremer, The Washington
Post, May 13, 2007
Once conventional wisdom
congeals, even facts can't shake it loose. These days, everyone "knows"
that the Coalition Provisional Authority made two disastrous decisions
at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq: to vengefully drive members
of the Baath Party from public life and to recklessly disband the Iraqi
army. The most recent example is former CIA chief George J. Tenet, whose
new memoir pillories me for those decisions (even though I don't recall
his ever objecting to either call during our numerous conversations in
my 14 months leading the CPA). Similar charges are unquestioningly repeated
in books and articles. Looking for a neat, simple explanation for our current
problems in Iraq, pundits argue that these two steps alienated the formerly
ruling Sunnis, created a pool of angry rebels-in-waiting and sparked the
insurgency that's raging today. The conventional wisdom is as firm here
as it gets. It's also dead wrong.
Little We Know (pdf)
Laurie Mylroie, The American
It is frequently remarked
that al Qaeda is unlike any enemy in history. It occupies no clear territory;
it is extraordinarily resilient, constantly reinvents itself; and still
posses an enormous threat even five years into the U.S. led war against
it. Every post 9/11 study has warned against "group think", but there persists
a pervasive stifling group-think regarding jihadis, a mindset that dates
from the Clinton era: the dictum that their terror does not involve states.
It is time for a profound reassessment of this assumption. Our current,
blinkered understanding of a deadly serious enemy suggest all too clearly
historic hallmarks of a major intelligence failure.
Subjection of Islamic Women
And the fecklessness
of American feminism.
by Christina Hoff Sommers
The Weekly Standard, 05/21/2007
The subjection of women in
Muslim societies--especially in Arab nations and in Iran--is today very
much in the public eye. Accounts of lashings, stonings, and honor killings
are regularly in the news, and searing memoirs by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar
Nafisi have become major best-sellers. One might expect that by now American
feminist groups would be organizing protests against such glaring injustices,
joining forces with the valiant Muslim women who are working to change
their societies. This is not happening.
# # #
by Michael Oberndorf, The
eco-logic Powerhouse, May 12, 2007
Motherhood! What a glorious
career! Especially when there's a title on the door. Does this make grandmothers
"Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human
Relations" and great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates"?
I think so! I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants".
the Welfare State Through the Power of Private Action
By Richard M. Ebeling Foundation
for Economic Education
People often act more wisely
in taking personal initiative and reclaiming self-responsibility than their
stated or unstated political views would suggest. I believe that while
many Americans find it difficult to think politically "outside the box"
of Big Government, they have in fact lost confidence in much of what government
has promised or tried to deliver. As this confidence has been eroded, people
have begun once more to take care of themselves and their families.
You Love Nature, Desocialize It
By Manuel Lora, The Ludwig
Von Mises Institute, May 10, 2007
Nature magazines are delightful
to read. The photos that grace conservation publications are often magnificent.
Yet it is hard to ignore the economic illiteracy or the socialist propaganda
that is espoused in many of their thoughtless articles, and it is even
harder to ignore the strength with which statists call for government expropriation
of resources in order to achieve their goals. I will examine why this is
ethically incorrect and economically inefficient.
Elites Struggle to Keep Ron Paul Under Wraps
By Jim Capo, May 11, 2007
Remember three years ago
when the major press organs of the country were all atwitter over the rocketing
presidential fortunes of Howard Dean? Dean and his supporters had "mastered
the Internet." .… Now in 2007, Ron Paul comes along last week and
gives by most accounts of honest grassroots Americans the best performance
in the first televised debate between GOP presidential contenders. Exclusively
broadcast by MSNBC, Ron Paul led MSNBC's post election poll from start
to finish with nearly a double digit margin over his nearest challenger
Mitt Romney. An even more crushing defeat of the rest of the pack occurred
in an ABC News poll which at first had been posted on-line with only nine
names on it — Ron Paul's being the one missing. Irate Paul supporters who
complained in the poll's comment section at first saw many of their posts
ominously deleted — some no doubt for language, others for editorial discretion
bordering on the c
word. After someone posted
in the comment thread the cell phone number of a Senior VP at ABC News,
the Paul name was added to the poll.
powered cars: Who even knows they exist?
By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY,
Natural-gas cars have some
significant drawbacks. There aren't enough stations selling natural gas
to make them practical for cross-country drives. They don't have as much
driving range as gasoline-powered cars. And their fuel tanks take up more
space in the trunk of the cars. But every alternative-energy vehicle has
disadvantages. Gasoline-electric hybrids have received attention because
they are touted by Japanese automaking giant Toyota. They are being introduced
haltingly by other automakers because their high-tech battery packs and
dual gas-electric power plants make them costlier and less profitable to
by Michael Reagan, Daily
Chronicle, May 11, 2007
Maggie Thatcher had a great
line about politicians who lose their nerve when faced with a big problem:
she warned them against going wobbly. That warning would be lost on the
members of today’s national Democratic Party. They’ve gone far beyond that
stage. Nowadays they have no problem with being seen as America’s surrender
I'm not going wobbly on Iraq by Tony Blair