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True North Archives - June 15, 2010
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The Federal Government Creates an Unnecessary Tension Between Port Supporters and Property Rights Supporters
By Robert Maynard

"Neither the Rainvilles nor the general public were advocating for the closure of the port. What they were objecting to was the seizure of private land to build a 5 million dollar "Taj Mahal" on a port that gets 2 cars per hour through it. The Feds stated that their architects reported that the old building could not be refurbished, yet a representative from the Vermont Historical Society reported that no one from the feds approached them about it and that it could be done. This, my friends, is a violation of individual property rights and a blatant abuse of Eminent Domain." ...

Instead of pursuing a sensible solution they embark on a course of action that potentially pits the interest of property rights supporters and their allies among the fiscally frugal against those who wish to see the port remain open. ...

Why is there no interest in finding a minimal impact/cost solution? Our government has grown so used to having a blank checkbook to throw at real and perceived problems that they seem to have lost the common sense that most people use when assessing the most efficient way to deal with a problem.

The Challenge for Change Dream World
By John McClaughry

On June 3 Gov. Douglas signed H.789, the highly touted bill to implement the "Challenge for Change" process so bravely launched back in February. A trip through its 95 pages illustrates in appalling detail why a liberal legislature cannot reform an overgrown state government that is not likely to significantly reform itself.

To review: in February the legislative leadership, with the Governor's support, decided that state agencies could reduce FY2011 General Fund spending by $37.8 million without reducing any services. How did the politicians know that that was realistic? Because they paid an out of state consulting firm almost $100,000 to tell them so.

Consumers 6, Producers 0
By Martin Harris

If I may play at the H.G. Wells role for a moment, here’s my prediction of "Things to Come": the Vermont Legislature, now composed overwhelmingly of politicians beholden to a new exurban-consumer-majority constituency, will soon over-ride the Governor’s recent veto of a Golden Dome decision to renege somewhat on its earlier promise of continuing a modest financial incentive to farmers to keep on farming, via the Current Use program. Since urbanites became the voting majority in the US, a demographic-political fact first recorded in the 1920 Census, the general trend of governmental farm policy has been to purchase consumer votes by making food ever cheaper, in inflation-adjusted terms, primarily by offering a range of subsidies to keep producers producing. Now the game is to see how much the subsidies can be cut back without reducing supply. The existence of a "national cheap food policy" has of course been denied by all the usual suspects in government and advocacy (like Carol Tucker Foreman, a power in both the Consumer Federation of America and the USDA) but the historical facts are there for those who wish to read them, and the more recent events-in-evidence are still remembered by many, mostly with a connection to farming today, like the massive Federal legal retaliation against the National Farmers’ Organization ( after 20 years the government court case collapsed, but the intended financial damage to NFO was permanent) for moving members’ milk among competing markets.

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"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."  --Justice Learned Hand
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Family Fights Morses Line Port Of Entry Closure
Homeland Security Decision Affects Local Business
From WPTZ Channel 5, June 12, 2010

A decision to save a local farm has turned into a battle and now some Vermonters want to take it up with Washington. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided to close the Morses Line Port of Entry last week. Some want the port reopened because the move hurts local business.

Let's Kick 'em When They're Down
By Chris Campion, Vermont Tiger, June 4, 2010

In what might be a startling revelation to the millions of actors in the market for petroleum-based products, the answer to oil dependency is to increase the price of gasoline, not increase supply, as a Senator who's never held a private-sector job argues recently.  Senator Sanders (I-VT, by way of Brooklyn) wants to cut oil and gas tax "breaks", which is essentially an industry-wide tax increase.  Sanders wants a tax increase during a recession, which I'm sure will also have the magical benefit of creating more jobs and fluffy kittens for all of us.  Letting no crisis go unexploited, the Senator laughingly argues that national debt size is no reason to let private industry remain profitable:

"And, with a $13 trillion national debt, the last thing we need to be doing is giving tax breaks to big oil and gas companies that have been making record-breaking profits year after year after year."

Apparently the Senator has no problem with his Congress approving budgets resulting in record-breaking deficits during a time of record-breaking unemployment and record-breaking lows in job growth and record-breaking low approval ratings for Congress.

What's eternally lost on Sanders is that profits are a good thing; profits create jobs where none existed before, and ensure that people can pay their mortgages without having to ask for a handout from politicians. Sanders' justification for his stance (as if he needs one) is that since the deficits are so high, oil companies should become less profitable, to help Sanders sustain the unsustainable budget he has so helpfully created.  In other words, Sanders is a teenager who's maxed out Mommy's credit card and simply wants her to throw more money at it for him, so he can most effectively spend someone else's money for them.

Republican to Kick Off Campaign for Vt. Governor
Caledonia Record, June 11, 2010

The lone Republican in Vermont's crowded gubernatorial race kicks off his campaign Saturday, promising a pro-business approach and an emphasis on job development if he's elected.

Brian Dubie, who's served seven years as lieutenant governor under Gov. Jim Douglas, is hoping to move up now that Douglas has decided not to seek a fifth term. Five Democrats, Progressive Party candidate Martha Abbott and independent Dennis Steele are also running.

Governors Break Ground for New Champlain Bridge, Ferry to Keep Running
From Vermont Business Magazine, June 11, 2010

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and New York State Governor David A. Paterson today broke ground on a new Lake Champlain Bridge spanning the lake between Crown Point, New York, and Addison, Vermont. The governors were joined at the site of the approach to the former bridge by state and local elected officials, local business leaders and community members to officially kick-off the start of construction of the new bridge.

School Consolidation: Proceed With Caution
Caledonia Record Editorial, June 9, 2010

The six CNSU school districts have approved a study of consolidating the six into one district. Much of the board conversation about such a consolidation was in anticipation of a consolidation dictated by the state. Our strong advice: proceed with caution. Any consolidation, but especially one engineered by the state, will be done in an educational mine field. Here are some of the issues that could easily do mortal damage to current districts, both municipal and supervisory:

FICA Follies
From Vermont Tiger, June 9, 2010

The city of Burlington appears to be enhancing its reputation for creative accounting.   As an investigation proceeds into the almost certainly improper and illegal diversion of $17 million from the city's pooled cash to pay operating expenses of the cash-strapped Burlington Telecom, attorneys are also looking into another piece of financial sleight of hand.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

The Left’s Strange Hostility to Hirsi Ali
Nicholas Kristof is just the latest great thinker to talk himself into a rosy view of Islam.
By Mark Steyn McCleans, June 10, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali can’t lead that life. She lives under armed guard and was forced to abandon the Netherlands because quite a lot of people want to kill her. And not in the desultory behead-the-enemies-of-Islam you-will-die-infidel pro forma death-threats-R-us way that many of us have perforce gotten used to in recent years: her great friend and professional collaborator was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam by a man who shot him eight times, attempted to decapitate him, and then drove into his chest two knives, pinning to what was left of him a five-page note pledging to do the same to her....

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s great cause is women’s liberation. Unfortunately for her, the women she wants to liberate are Muslim, so she gets minimal support and indeed a ton of hostility from Western feminists who have reconciled themselves, consciously or otherwise, to the two-tier sisterhood: when it comes to clitoridectomies, forced marriages, honour killings, etc., multiculturalism trumps feminism. Liberal men are, if anything, even more opposed. She long ago got used to the hectoring TV interviewer, from Avi Lewis on the CBC a while back to Tavis Smiley on PBS just the other day, insisting that say what you like about Islam but everyone knows that Christians are just as backward and violent, if not more so. The media left spends endless hours and most of its interminable awards ceremonies congratulating itself on its courage, on "speaking truth to power," the bravery of dissent and all the rest, but faced with a pro-gay secular black feminist who actually lives it they frost up in nothing flat.

A Turkey of a Policy
Obama makes the Middle East an even more dangerous place.
By Elliot Abrams, The Weekly Standard, June 21, 2010

The Gaza flotilla incident is not over. American demands for some "international role" in investigating Israel’s conduct (but not, it seems, Turkey’s) and for a new system of getting humanitarian aid to Gaza will be imposed on Israel one way or another before the episode will be behind us. But however they play out, this incident clarified several major trends in the region—all of which are dangerous for the United States and for our allies in the Middle East.

The U.N.’s Iran Dead End
The National Review, June 10, 2010

The latest round of U.N. sanctions against Iran will not stop that nation’s rulers from acquiring a nuclear arsenal. It could in fact help them acquire one. That is the likely outcome if President Obama does not revise his Iran policy.

The resolution, approved yesterday, achieved the following. Forty persons associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the fanatical entity that oversees Iran’s nuclear program and is a power base for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei, had been targeted by previous sanctions; they, and a new 41st, will now face a travel ban and asset freeze. U.N. member states will be required to inspect planes and ships going to or coming from Iran if they suspect that these vessels contain banned cargo (yet the resolution provides no authorization for the forcible boarding of such vessels). Iran will not be allowed to invest — in any country — in uranium mines, enrichment plants, or similar facilities. And there will be a ban on the sale of many types of weapons systems, including any ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload, to Iran.

The Future of America’s Nuclear Defense
By Peter Huessy, Family Security Matters, June 10, 2010

Will the US have a nuclear deterrent capable of defending America in 20 years? True, we may not purposely give it up as reaching global zero is certainly not yet on the horizon. But what if we fail to make the needed investments to sustain and modernize what is at heart central to America’s security? That is the very question now facing Congress. What kind of nuclear deterrent will we have as we seek a safer world?

Islamist Turkey Overreaches
By Daniel Pipes, June 8, 2010,

As typical Islamist-leftist theater to delegitimize Israel, late May's Turkish-sponsored "Free Gaza" flotilla was tediously repetitious. As an illustration that Israelis don't understand the kind of war they now must fight, the outcome was drearily predictable. But as a statement of Turkey's policies and an augur of the Islamist movement's future, it bristled with novelty and significance.

Why Are American Doctors Mutilating Girls?
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Daily Beast, June 2, 2010

After only a month of criticism—including from Nomad author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, below—the American Academy of Pediatrics has reversed a policy that advised American doctors to give a ceremonial pinprick to girls of immigrant families so that they would avoid seeking a full circumcision.

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From Elsewhere

Europe: The Unjust Continent
By Samuel Gregg D.Phil., The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, June 1, 2010

In recent months, the European social model has been under the spotlight following Greece's economic meltdown and the fumbling efforts of European politicians to prop up other tottering European economies. To an unprecedented extent, the post-war European model's sustainability is being questioned. Even the New York Times has conceded something is fundamentally wrong with the model they and the American Left have been urging upon America for decades. ...

But while such mythologies dominate European discourse, it's also true that Western Europe's economic culture is characterized by a deeply unjust fracture. Modern Europe is a continent increasingly divided between what Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi called in The Future of Europe (2006) "insiders" and "outsiders".

The "insiders" are establishment politicians of left and right, trade unions, public sector workers, politically-connected businesses, pensioners, and those (such as farmers) receiving subsidies. The "outsiders" include, among others, entrepreneurs, immigrants, and the young. Naturally the insiders do everything they can to maintain their position and marginalize outsiders' opportunities for advancement.

Here's The Real Reason America Refused International Help On The Oil Spill
By Dian L. Chu Walker, Business Insider, June 2, 2010

A Belgian group--DEME-- contends it can clean up the oil in three to four months with specialty vessel and equipment, rather than an estimated nine months if done only by the U.S.  The article noted there are no more than 5 or 6 of those ships in the world and the top specialist players are the two Belgian companies- DEME and De Nul - and their Dutch competitors.

The U.S. does not have the similar technology and vessel to accomplish the cleanup task because those ships would cost twice as much to build in the U.S. than in the Far East. The article further criticizes this "great technological delay" is a direct consequence of the Jones Act.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, deals with coastal shipping; and requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. ...

On the other hand, waivers of the Jones may be granted by the Administration in cases of national emergencies or in cases of strategic interest.  It would appear the U.S. government's initial refusal to foreign  help most likely stemmed from a mis-calculation of the scale and deepwater technological barriers for this unprecedented disaster, and/or perhaps .... pride.

(Editor’s Note: The Jones Act was waived by President Bush during the Katrina Disaster)

Study: Burning Biomass for Electricity Creates More Greenhouse Gas than Coal
By John Appleton,, June 10, 2010

A scientific study released Thursday that showed burning locally harvested trees for electricity creates more greenhouse gas than coal-fired plants is dampening the state’s enthusiasm for some biomass facilities such as those proposed for Russell and Greenfield.

The six-month study conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences shows that, by 2050, burning trees and other "biomass" for heating would lead to a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change compared to using oil, according to Ian A. Bowles, the state energy secretary.

After the Hangover: Conservatives on the Road to Recovery?
By Bernard Chapin, Pajamas Media, June 10, 2010

Republicans eagerly anticipate this fall’s congressional elections as, in the words of a character from The Lord of the Rings: "It is long since we had any hope." How well the GOP does is unknown but taking back the House is certainly a possibility.

Enter R. Emmett Tyrrell, the editor-in-chief of the American Spectator, and the author of his newly released book, After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. Tyrrell wrote ten books before this one and published last year a compendium of his monthly columns named after its title ("The Continuing Crisis").

As his narrative in After the Hangover clarifies, he was present during the rise of conservatism and remains present during phony and fabricated news of its demise. Tyrrell coined the term "Kultursmog" to describe the nefarious way in which the counter-culturalists of the 1960s now direct our society.

Stop the Federal Spending Spree
By Tad DeHaven, Cato Institute, June 7, 2010

Runaway federal spending has emerged as the chief issue on the minds of voters heading into the fall election season — and for good reason.

In 2000, the federal government spent $1.8 trillion while debt held by the public stood at $3.4 trillion. A mere decade later, the federal government is on pace to spend $3.7 trillion while publicly held debt is approaching $10 trillion.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Politicians: High Crimes and Misdemeanors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (Part 3: The Crimes)
By Liz Blaine, News Real, June 1, 2010

Part 3 of this series serves up the extensive list of potential crimes commited by the Obama administration that establish their pattern of bribery, corruption, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to corrupt the American electoral process while reigning from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In Part 1 I discussed the administration’s latest scandal, Sestak-gate, a classic quid pro quo for political advantage and its subsequent cover-up. Part 2 covers the inconsistencies created by the White Houses’s "coordinated" effort to obfuscate the truth and maintain hold on their reins of power.

Who's the Enemy in the War on Terror?
By Joseph Lieberman, The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2010

 In the new National Security Strategy released by the White House last month, the Obama administration rightly reaffirms that America remains a nation at war. Unfortunately, it refuses to identify our enemy in this war as what it is: violent Islamist extremism.

This is more than semantics. As military strategists since Sun Tzu have appreciated, the first rule in war is to know your enemy so you can defeat it. The 2006 National Security Strategy did this: It correctly identified our enemy as "the transnational terrorists [who] exploit the proud religion of Islam to serve a violent political vision."

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