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True North Archives - June 02, 2009
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Why We Have Abandoned Vermont?
By Glen A. Wright, CPA

Now, I want to go on record that I am leaving Vermont because of its high tax burden. Vermont's high cost of living is also a burden for many, not just to high-income taxpayers. My mother, 85, was born and lived her entire life in Enosburg Falls. Even though she has a good retirement benefit from my deceased father, she struggles to maintain her house and modest lifestyle. Property taxes, income taxes, sales tax and high fuel and electricity costs have caused her to have to consume the equity in her house in order to live. She is very disappointed with the massive changes in Vermont's way of life....

The majority of Vermonters have become "takers" from government and the number of "givers" is not only in the minority but decreasing every day. If Vermont continues with its current tax policy, there will soon come a time when the "givers" are gone and the only ones left will be the "takers" who will no longer have a source of tax revenue for their taking. In my opinion, I think we are already there and the recent proposed legislation only accelerates the flight of the "givers".

What’s An Artium Baccalaureus Worth?
By Martin Harris

News that Middlebury’s annual per-pupil cost will soon rise past the $50,000 mark isn’t an unexpected shocker –after all, it was within easy striking distance last year at $49,210, so getting to $50,780 is merely a walking-around-money increase. But a nice round number like $50K is a benchmark of sorts, and raises once again all the time-honored questions about the purpose, value, and cost of a college education. Typically, it’s called an "investment", with further elaboration directed at either the (supposed) resulting broadening of knowledge, outlook, and understanding, or the first step toward professional skill, recognition, and reward in some vocational endeavor. Frequently the two are rhetorically mixed together, presumably so the listener won’t know whether there’s supposed to be a return on the investment and what form that return should take.

Taking the "Freedom" out of "Freedom and Unity"
By Tom Licata

Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958), writing about Vermont’s 1778 motto of "Freedom and Unity" stated:  "the Vermont idea grapples energetically with the basic problem of human conduct – how to reconcile the needs of the group, of which every man or woman is a member, with the craving for individual freedom to be what he really is."

"…With the craving for individual freedom to be what he really is."  This, my fellow Vermonters, is what Montpelier’s policies increasingly deprives its citizens of, as it becomes evermore difficult to prosper and grow in an environment that is increasingly hostile to economic freedom, property rights and individual liberties.

Exploring the Nether World of Politics
By John McClaughry

Well under the radar during the current battle over the state budget, a small bill moved through the legislative process to passage. A review of how this bill (S.89) made it through to the governor’s desk reveals some of the nether world of politics....

But this misbegotten scheme – a hidden milk tax on families with young children, to be levied by an unaccountable commission, the proceeds distributed to members of Bobby Starr’s special interest group, and a special tax provision intended to finance Dan Smith’s continued employment – richly deserved termination by veto.

On May 22 Gov. Douglas signed S.89 without comment.

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"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."   -- Daniel Webster

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Governor James H. Douglas Issues Veto of Fiscal 2010 Budget
From the State of Vermont, Office of the Governor, June 1, 2009

“It is with great disappointment that I return H. 441 to the Legislature without my signature.  I had hoped that our budget differences could be resolved and compromise reached without the need for a veto vote.  Unfortunately, an agreement could not be achieved.  These are unprecedented economic times and Vermonters need their elected officials to work together to get our state through this recession.  I pledge to continue to work with legislators of all parties regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s special session.” 

Essential To Whom?
From Vermont Times, May 29, 2009

Our own Alison Clarkson pleads for the Democrats’ budget, saying that it protects "essential services" from our state government.  The trouble with Alison’s thinking, and that of her henchmen, is that they claim everything the state government does is essential!  As anyone with a modicum of business experience knows, there is always room for improvement.  The whole idea of free enterprise is doing things better, faster, cheaper.  If Alison used this model, our state government could perform truly "essential services" with a lot less taxpayer money.

Plymouth Cheese Business Closes
By Josh O'Gorman, Rutland Herald, May 27, 2009

When the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site opened Saturday to visitors, one of its popular attractions was shuttered. The Plymouth Cheese Factory, which was founded by President Coolidge's father and for the past five years was operated by Tom Gilbert under the name Frog City Cheese, was closed to visitors, and the weekend brought to a close a contentious relationship between Gilbert and the state.

To Veto Or Not To Veto
From the Caledonia Record, June 1 2009

Governor Douglas faced another no-win situation this week, while considering whether to veto the renewable energy bill or to let it become law without his signature. He chose the latter; we think he should have chosen the former.

The renewable energy bill was designed entirely by zealots who are driven by radicalized environmental concerns. These zealots assembled a rate-payer list of subsidies for small scale producers of wind, solar, hydro, and methane energy products. In effect, this new law hyper-subsidizes, with rate payer money, anybody who wants to be a power producer, even if their power is up to 20 times more expensive than that from current producers.

Some Items From David Hale's Thursday Lecture
From Vermont Tiger, May 30, 2009

Noted economist (and St. Johnsbury native) David Hale is back in Vermont for a high school reunion; on Thursday, he gave a wide-ranging lecture on all things globally-economic in South Burlington. Some excerpts that caught my attention below the fold....

The Danger Of The Law Of Unintended Consequences
From  the Caledonia Record, May 30, 2009

We suspect that there are dozens, maybe hundreds of such redundancies among the state work force. We bet that Vermont could cut scores, even hundreds of employees by contracting out their duties. And that brings up an essential question. Is Vermont a government that should minimize taxes by paying for what we need by finding and contracting for the most efficient services, or is Vermont essentially an employment agency that should hire and retain redundant employees at any and all costs?

Veto Of Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Bill Inevitable And Right
From Vermont Tiger, May 29, 2009

Thank goodness that somebody in the power circles of Montpelier has some common sense. In the face of the Democrat lefties' obsession with closing Vermont Yankee at any price, that repository of common sense would be Gov. Jim Douglas, who vetoed the blackmail/extortion plan of Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, et. al, who passed a plan to soak Vermont Yankee hundreds of millions of dollars toward decommissioning the nuclear power plant.

My Turn: Balancing Budget a Vermont Value
By Vermont Tax Commissioner Tom Pelham, Burlington Free Press, June 1, 2009

While higher taxes are fundamental to Rep. Wizowaty's [D-Burlington] causes and values, one cannot reasonably argue that raising taxes on struggling Vermont families reflects a higher moral calling. In fact, the Legislature's budget not only raises $26 million in new taxes for this budget, but leaves taxpayers on the hook for a $67 million deficit for the fiscal year that starts in just over 12 months. ... While Rep. Wizowaty might see deficit spending as the moral high ground, most Vermonters see it as a very steep fiscal cliff from which both taxpayers and those depending upon state services will fall.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Why Obama is losing The Third Jihad
By Kevin McCullough,, May 31, 2009

As I pen these words not more than sixty miles north of where I sit, a radical Islamist breeding ground is churning out hate, weapons training, and radical Wahabi indoctrination. To date President Barack Obama's administration has done zero about it.

In fact as you spend today doing whatever pleases you, it is imperative for you to understand that that there are thirty additional compounds to this one that are spread throughout the nation in blue states like New York and red states like Virginia. And in each place the residents have been observed or overheard testing explosives, firing weapons, and engaged in the same type of activities as what those who have abandoned Islamberg have confessed to.

China's Military and Security Relationship with Pakistan
By Lisa Curtis,, May 26, 2009

Pakistan and China have long-standing strategic ties, dating back five decades. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrote in a recent op-ed that, "No relationship between two sovereign states is as unique and durable as that between Pakistan and China."[1] China's partnership with Pakistan first emerged during the mid-1950s when Beijing reached out to several developing countries, and then deepened significantly during the period of Sino-Indian hostility from 1962 to the late 1980s.

Chinese policy toward Pakistan is driven primarily by its interest in countering Indian power in the region and diverting Indian military force and strategic attention away from China. South Asia expert Stephen Cohen describes China as pursuing a classic balance of power by supporting Pakistan in a relationship that mirrors the one between the U.S. and Israel.[2] The China-Pakistan partnership serves both Chinese and Pakistani interests by presenting India with a potential two-front theater in the event of war with either country.

NKorea warns of military action against SKorea
Associated Press, May 26, 2009

North Korea's military says it considers South Korea's participation in a U.S.-led program to intercept ships suspected of spreading weapons of mass destruction tantamount to a declaration of war against the North.

The communist North's military said in a statement Wednesday that it will respond with "immediate, strong military measures" if the South actually stops and searches any North Korean ships under the Proliferation Security Initiative.

Pentagon: Ex-Gitmo Detainees Turning to Terrorism on Rise
Mike Mount, CNN, May 26, 2009

Mohammed Ismail was released from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in early 2004 and sent back to Afghanistan to be set free. 

Within four months, the U.S. military said, he was recaptured in Afghanistan attacking U.S. troops there, with paperwork on him that said he was a Taliban in good standing. 

Another is Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, who was released from Guantanamo in December 2007 and set free in Afghanistan. Rasoul has become a powerful Taliban military commander in southern Afghanistan, the military said, and the United States suspects he is responsible for several attacks on U.S. forces there. 

A senior U.S. military official said he believes Rasoul is using his former Guantanamo experience to build on his "rock star status" among the Taliban. 

Who Speaks For Islam? Not John Esposito
If the Georgetown University Prof represents Islam, the world's Muslims are in trouble.
By Jonathan Gelbart, FrontPage Magazine, May 28, 2009

Georgetown University Professor John Esposito is the media’s favorite go-to man for questions about Islam. As the founding director of the Saudi-financed Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown, he is also notorious for downplaying radical Islam. Stanford University hosted his latest round of apologetics on May 13.

Esposito, who spoke at Stanford last year, was on campus to promote the film version of his recent book (co-authored with Dalia Mogahed of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies), Who Speaks For Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. He was joined by the film’s executive producer, Muslim convert Michael Wolfe. The 55-minute film claims to present the results of the "largest, most comprehensive study" of Muslim opinion ever done. The crowd’s political leaning were evident in the audible hisses that greeted the cinematic image of former President George W. Bush.

First Jihadi Cell of 2009 Busted In the United States – What Does It Mean?
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, May 20, 2009

A successful counterterrorism operation led by the FBI and the New York City Police Department ended with the arrest of four New York City men in connection with plots to bomb Jewish synagogues and gun down military planes in upstate areas.

According to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly the suspects, identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, allegedly "wanted to commit Jihad." A first reading of the material made available by authorities and statements issued by officials help us ask several questions and raise a number of points for debate. ...

These arrests, added to all previous arrests tell us one thing: The Jihadists are still at war with America and all other democracies. They haven’t stopped, they will continue to try, citizens or not, of all ethnic background, united under one ideology, protected by our Laws and taking full advantage of our wrong debate on national security. If we don’t see them as an "army" spreading across the country and if we do not educate our public as much as needed about them, one day and despite the bravery of our law enforcement people, one cell will not be stopped. Hopefully that day won’t come.

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From Elsewhere

The Union's Pyrrhic Victory Over Capitalism
By Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, May 27, 2009

For those companies that caved in to the outrageous Obama Administration bailout plan which rewarded the UAW at the expense of the bondholders, the market noticed and is exacting its price.

Rule of Law, or Rule of Lawyers?
Sotomayor claims an unlimited license for judicial activism.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, May 27, 2009

It’s not the rule of law, it’s the rule of lawyers: That’s the central message conveyed by Pres. Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, a judge of the Second Circuit federal appeals court, to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court next October.

The Tyranny of the Obvious
By Hunter Baker, Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, May 27 2009

When Reagan took office, he brought with him a message Jack Kemp had been proclaiming ahead of time like some John the Baptist of the beltway. The message was counterintuitive, but incredibly powerful. What was it? You can cut taxes, and if they have been too high, you will actually gain revenue. The "obvious" answer is that Reagan was wrong. Higher taxes mean greater revenue, don’t they? In fact, it is still an article of faith among many leftists that Reagan’s tax cuts led to spiraling deficits and a mounting national debt. In this case, however, the faith is misplaced. An empirical examination shows that Reagan’s massive tax cuts led to real (inflation-adjusted) gains in federal revenue. Lower rates mean more incentive to earn and less incentive to cheat. At the same time, the sea change in tax policy put the fundamentals in place for long term economic growth. In short, what seemed obvious (cutting taxes would lead to disaster for a government already sorely pressed financially) was clearly incorrect. Reagan derailed the express that heads for the place where all empires end: high taxes and empty coffers.

More Evidence Emerges that Chrysler Dealer Closings was Politically Motivated
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, May 27, 2009

I wrote yesterday of the possibility that Chrysler dealers who had been given the ax were disproportionately Republican - many of them large contributors to GOP candidates and the RNC. ...

And Jim Hoft has found an incredible piece of information. Apparently, a politically connected group of Democrats who own six Chrysler dealerships not only were allowed to keep them, but their competition was deep sixed.

What's Going On with Cable News Channels?
By Anthony G. Martin, The Examiner, May 30, 2009

It is no secret that Barack Obama loathes Fox News.  He has refused to appear on any Fox program during the campaign and after the election, with the exception of Bill O'Reilly.  Yet it is Fox News that has increased its viewership since November and totally decimated the competition, while decidedly pro-Obama networks such as MSNBC and CNN have lost viewers during the same period.

In fact, O'Reilly's show alone pulled in more viewers than all of MSNBC and CNN combined.

Further, Hannity has been named specifically by Obama on several occasions as a TV commentator for which he has utmost disdain.  Yet Hannity has managed to pull in more viewers than the top 2 MSNBC programs combined.

What's going on here?  Is there an explanation for this curious phenomenon where the very network that dares criticize Barack Obama is making minced meat out of its competition?

Mfg Index up to 42.8 in May, Beats Expectations
By Tali Arbel, Associated Press, June 1, 2009

On the same day of manufacturing icon General Motors Corp.'s bankruptcy filing, reports on the industrial sector from around the globe seemed to show the sector on the mend.

The decline in U.S. manufacturing slowed in May, a trade group reported Monday, and the sector is faring better than analysts had expected. Similar reports from Asia and Europe also showed improvements in manufacturing.

Leahy's Brain
By The Washington Prowler, June 1, 2009

"Senator Leahy can be petty and vindictive and highly partisan," says the former staffer. "Cohen gives him the legal and parliamentary rationale to be all those things within the rules of the Senate." 

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