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True North Archives - June 16, 2009
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The Anti-Business Scorecard
By John McClaughry

Suppose you - or your brother, or your neighbor - owns or works for a small business - plumber, convenience store, homebuilder, auto repair shop, restaurant. How did the owners and employees of those independent businesses fare at the hands of the 2009 legislature?

Land for Me But Not for Thee
By Martin Harris

If you’ve ever harbored the dark and nasty suspicion that a "no-growth" objective lies semi-concealed behind the decisions of planning and zoning folks who are specifically so driven by their demanding constituencies, you’ll want to read Robert Bruegmann’s "Sprawl".

Veto Overrides Reveal an Unwanted and Dangerous Imbalance of Power
By Rob Roper

What did Vermonters get for bestowing unchecked power on the Democrat-run legislature? The Democrats' budget - passed over the objections of Republicans and every elected Independent -- contained $26 million in new taxes, leaves us with a $208 million deficit by 2012, and actually grows state government by over 3% on the backs of taxpayers who are already struggling to keep their heads above water.

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"Since when can you get out of huge national debt by creating trillions of dollars of new debt? It all is really so backwards and skewed as to sound like absolute nonsense when some of this economic policy is explained. How do you put more Americans to work when you disincentives business with threats of taking them over or bailing them out for decision that they have made. 

It is not only not economically counterproductive but immoral. Doesn’t anyone remember, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Socialism takes away freedom, opportunity and hope. " 
 --Sarah Palin in a speech introducing Michael Reagan

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Wrong Secret
From Vermont Tiger, June 15 2009

Vermont's quiet little secret in this regard was that we didn't tax the very rich much at all, compared to other states. --Rutland Herald

Actually, no.  In Vermont, we tax the rich a lot. About 8,000 Vermont taxpayers --out of more than 300,000 who file an income tax form-- pay more than 40% of the $500 million the state collects in income taxes.  According to the Federation of Tax Adminstrators, we have one of the highest marginal income taxes in the nation, and compared to other states with high marginal rates, the tax rate starts at a pretty high income level.

The real secret is that if you're a middle income Vermonter, earning, say $50,000 to $100,000, you pay less income taxes than you would if you lived in just about any other state with an income tax.  It's the middle class that is relatively lightly taxed, not the rich.

VSEA Pursues Unconstitutional Decision
From The Caledonia Record, June 11, 2009

The public employees' union (VSEA) is trying to stop the job layoffs that have been ordered by Gov. Jim Douglas. They got their courage to challenge what is the clear constitutional prerogative of the governor from the audacity of the Democratic Legislature.

Too Many Schools, Too Few Students, Says Vt's Ed Chief
By Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press Bureau, June 12, 2009

As lawmakers and the governor clash over how to rein in spiraling education costs, Vermont's commissioner of education is taking aim at what he says is the source of the state's school-spending dilemma.

Too many schools and too few students, according to Armando Vilaseca, have fueled an education system that now consumes half of all state spending. The more than 300 public schools in Vermont, many of which serve only dozens of students, are too powerful a financial drain in a state whose school-aged population numbers less than 90,000.

Douglas Signs Budget Companion Bill
By Terry Hallenbeck, The Burlington Free Press, June 10, 2009

Gov. Jim Douglas signed a budget companion bill into law Tuesday even as he maintained that part of it is unconstitutional.

That piece has to do with legislative oversight of state job cuts. Douglas contends that the Legislature is overstepping its bounds by dictating how the executive branch carries out its job.

Economist: Recession Likely to Get Worse
From WCAX-TV, June 11, 2009

The state economist says the recession in Vermont is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Right now the unemployment rate is 7.1 percent. Economist Jeff Carr predicts it will peak at about 9 percent, and not rebound to where it was for a few more years. One of the challenges -- the work force is no longer shrinking the way it had been. People in retirement age who may have left the work force are now returning to it as their savings have shrunk.

Vermont Gets $13 Million Windfall Inheritance Tax Payment
From The Associated Press,  June 9, 2009

The Vermont budget is getting a $13 million boost at a critical time. State officials say the money came from an estate tax of someone who was worth between $80 million and $100 million at the time of their death last year.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Attacked, Pakistani Villagers Take On Taliban
By Sabrina Tavernise & Irfan Ashraf, The New York Times, June 9, 2009

Villagers are rising up against the Taliban in a remote corner of northern Pakistan, a grass-roots rebellion that underscores the shift in the public mood against the militants and a growing confidence to confront them.

Miranda Rights for Terrorists
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, June 4, 2009

If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. "The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters," says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.

The Bear Is Back – We Face Increasing Challenges from a Resurgent Russia
By Peter Brookes, Family Security Matters, June 10, 2009

Both Russia and the United States insist one Cold War was enough. But considering the frosty rhetorical winds blowing back and forth between the two former, bitter rivals the last few years, one has to wonder.

Even with the Obama White House’s efforts to push a gimmicky "reset button" with the Kremlin in hopes that it will make everything better, it appears that a persistent cold front has descended on U.S.-Russia ties.

Can Morocco Save the Middle East?
By S. E. Cupp, Town Hall, June 10, 2009

Morocco can play a significant role in brokering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, if Obama is willing to give it a microphone. A progressive Muslim country with both African and European influences, it is strategically located to be a centerpiece of Western-Muslim dialogue.

King Mohammed VI, at only 46, represents the kind of moderate and progressive world views on which Obama and the Western world should capitalize and promote as a formidable and open-minded new brand of Islam. Under Mohammed VI, Morocco has become increasingly more democratic. It is a safe haven for religious freedom, the likes of which most Arab countries have never seen. In 2000 he was awarded an honorary degree by George Washington University for his promotion of democracy in Morocco.

Turkey's Military Is a Catalyst for Reform?
By David Capezza, Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2009

Analysts generally consider military influence in politics and society to be a critical impediment to the development of democratic political and civil rights and freedoms. According to Freedom House, for example, greater military involvement in government politics decreases civil liberties and political rights in any given country; this infringes on a government's ability to develop democracy.

Turkey may be an exception. The military has deep roots in society, and its influence predates the founding of the republic. But rather than hinder democratization, Turkey's military remains an important component in the checks and balances that protect Turkish democracy. Herein lies an irony: European officials have made diminishment of military influence a key reform in Turkey's European Union accession process. This may be a noble goal, but by insisting on dismantling the military role in Turkish society without advancing a new mechanism to guarantee the constitution, well-meaning reformers may actually undercut the stability of Turkey as a democracy.

The Collapsing Global Left
By Bruce Walker, American Thinker June 09 2009

Does the smashing victory of the Conservative Party, and these other victories mean that the democratic world is suddenly embracing our conservative principles?  No:  not at all.  But does it mean that voters, almost everywhere they can vote, are rejecting the message of the Left?  Yes.  Real conservatism is not winning elections yet; but the Left is clearly losing.

American voters are bombarded by their media with the message that conservatism is dead, because a Democrat got 52 perecent of the presidential vote. Meanwhile, the collapse of the Left proceeds apace elsewhere in the world.

Iran's Clarifying Election
No longer can anyone pretend theocracy and democracy are compatible.
By Amir Taheri, Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2009

Having won re-election amid allegations of fraud, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday tried to show that he also controlled the streets where the Khomeinist regime first seized power in the 1979 revolution. The show was less than impressive.

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From Elsewhere

Pipeline, Not Pipe Dream: Credit Palin
From Investor's Business Daily, June 12, 2009

Energy: Exxon Mobil's surprise decision to join Trans-Canada on a vast Alaska gas pipeline project is a big step toward making the U.S. self-sufficient in domestic energy. By defying naysayers, Sarah Palin is now vindicated.

The First Reform
By Oskari Juurikkala, Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, June 10, 2009

The global financial crisis has prompted numerous calls for regulatory reform in areas such as banking, hedge funds, financial innovation and executive compensation. Reforms may be needed. But the first and most fundamental changes must take place in the human heart.

It is precisely in times when institutional reforms seem most urgent that restraint and prudence are sorely needed. Large-scale crises, such as the present one, have deep roots that are mostly not visible and obvious. Focusing energies on the surface is not only wasteful; it also risks masking the deeper causes, which will then continue to propagate like weeds right under our unseeing eyes.

Glenn Beck: Time for a Czar Czar?
From The Glenn Beck Show, June 10, 2009

Here's the one thing: A shadow government is giving the Obama administration unprecedented power with virtually no oversight. …

During FDR's administrations, some executive positions were actually called "dictators" — like the "dictator of steel," "dictator of lumber," etc. The idea was for them to control supply within each industry in order to keep up prices.

Richard Nixon did the same thing, but instead of calling them "dictators" he called them "czars." The first was an "energy czar" who was charged with overseeing the 1970s energy crisis. (And what a bang-up job he did. We are a-OK on the old energy front these days!)

Other presidents have also named czars, but no one can hold a candle to President Obama who has named 16 czars so far — and he's not done yet!

Lies, Damned Lies And 'Saved' Jobs
From Investor's Business Daily, June 09, 2009

Economy: More than 1.6 million jobs have disappeared since the stimulus package was signed in February. Government can't create jobs, only dependency. Make-work jobs will not turn the economy around.

The EPA's Protection Racket
By Angela Logomasini, Competitive Enterprise Institute June 9, 2009

Politically speaking, the new Obama EPA may indeed be making some strides. But what concrete public-health benefits can Jackson — or any EPA administrator — realistically claim to have achieved?

The EPA’s public-health mission is misleading, because it is charged with addressing risks that are too small to measure or be regulated away. The agency’s current risk-assessment practices compound the problem, harming both public health and our economic well-being. The agency issues extremely high benefit estimates for its regulations. But these estimates are out of touch with reality.

Ron Paul’s HR1207 is Unstoppable! 207 Cosponsors Now
From Liberty Maven, June 9th, 2009

According to Matt Hawes at the Campaign For Liberty Ron Paul’s HR1207 to audit the Federal Reserve now has 207 cosponsors, including House Minority leader John Boehner!

The IRS Phones Home
What's next, a tax on each sip of office coffee?
Wall Street Journal Editorial, June 16, 2009

With federal spending in 2009 at 28% of the economy and deficits heading north, Democrats are eyeing tax increases on everything from soft drinks to electricity to health benefits to charitable contributions. But the palm for creativity goes to the Internal Revenue Service, which is contemplating a new tax on the use of business cellphones.

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