North Archives - June 02, 2009
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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".
An Artium Baccalaureus Worth?
By Martin Harris
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.
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
"…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
the Nether World of Politics
By John McClaughry
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
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
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
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.”
From Vermont Times, May
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.
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.
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.
Items From David Hale's Thursday Lecture
From Vermont Tiger, May
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....
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?
Of Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Bill Inevitable And Right
From Vermont Tiger, May
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.
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.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Obama is losing The Third Jihad
Kevin McCullough, Townhall.com, May 31, 2009
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.
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.
Military and Security Relationship with Pakistan
Lisa Curtis, Heritage.org, May 26, 2009
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."
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
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.
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.
warns of military action against SKorea
Press, May 26, 2009
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.
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.
Ex-Gitmo Detainees Turning to Terrorism on Rise
Mount, CNN, May 26, 2009
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.
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
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
U.S. military official said he believes Rasoul is using his former Guantanamo
experience to build on his "rock star status" among the Taliban.
Speaks For Islam? Not John Esposito
the Georgetown University Prof represents Islam, the world's Muslims are
Jonathan Gelbart, FrontPage Magazine, May 28, 2009
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
his latest round of apologetics on May 13.
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),
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.
Jihadi Cell of 2009 Busted In the United States – What Does It Mean?
Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, May 20, 2009
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
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. ...
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.
# # #
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
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.
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.
Evidence Emerges that Chrysler Dealer Closings was Politically Motivated
By Rick Moran, American
Thinker, May 27, 2009
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. ...
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.
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
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?
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.
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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