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True North Archives - June 23, 2009
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Featured Articles

"Willingness" to Pay is as Important as "Ability"
By Rob Roper

The recent and powerful op-ed by Glen Wright, CPA, Why we have abandoned Vermont (Click Here for the article), has brought some much needed attention to Vermont's tax code. We better figure out how we're going to generate revenue and from whom, and recognize the fact that whomever this turns out to be needs to be a willing as well as able participant. 

Identity Zoning Part 1
By Martin Harris

More than a century ago, French author Anatole France (fake name) wrote "Le Lys Rouge", 1894, which contains this well-known quote: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges…"  sarcastically illustrating through his Communist world-view, the Leftist support for the idea that members of different groups are entitled to different treatment under law and regulation. Lady Justice now peeks around her blindfold to determine who, appearing before her, should be treated more gently or more harshly, depending on their group identity, for the same crime. Or, in modern Vermont planning and zoning situations, the same permit application. So the new logical sequence is 1. identity politics, 2. identity jurisprudence, and 3. identity zoning.  Just as, under the Anatole France view of things, the rich are to be judged more rigorously for stealing than the poor, so, under contemporary P&Z doctrine in many Vermont towns, corporate permit applicants are to be treated more rigorously than equally-for-profit mom-n-pop applicants, and both such identity groups are to be treated more rigorously than government or non-profit applicants, which explains why Middlebury has granted multiple variances for various non-profit housing applicants, and why the Addison County Shire Town raised no environmental objection to the construction of its own exemplary county-courthouse-in-a-swamp, a bit of regulatory empathy which, I’d guess, wouldn’t have been accorded a for-profit private developer. 

What is Going On Here?
By Karen Kerin

Via the 14th Amendment’s Due process clause, the entire Bill of Rights applies to the states as well as the federal government.  We know that to be true operatively because freedom of religion, speech, and assembly are protected in all states under the 1st Amendment.  Similarly, the 3rd through the 9th Amendments are protected from the states running amuck.  Obviously then, the 2nd Amendment is also protected from state action as well and the 10th Amendment merely gives precedence to the states for any other rights not set forth in the Bill of Rights. 

Judge Sonia Sotomayor ruled in U.S. v. Sanchez-Villar (2004), "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right".

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"By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."

--  John Maynard Keynes Source: "The Economic Consequences Of The Peace"

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Hard Work is Just Beginning
Editorial, Rutland Herald, June 14, 2009

Be careful what you ask for or you might just get it. Somebody probably whispered those words to Shap Smith and Peter Shumlin in the waning days of the legislative session, before the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate engineered the budget veto override.

If no one did, they should have. Responsibility for making the budget work now lies squarely before the Democratic-controlled Legislature; it's their document, their vision, and their looming deficit, estimated at some $67 million for next year and well over $100 million the year after that.

The Entitlement Game
From Vermont Tiger, June 19 2009

The political class will have to face up to the problem. Brooks says, "First, they have to persuade a country to postpone gratification for the sake of rebuilding the country.  This country hasn’t accepted sacrifice in 50 years."  Vermont is an example, of course.  Our Democrats and Progressives love giving money away but are ill-prepared to trim expenses – maybe because most of them have never run a business.  When times are good, it’s fun to spend money – why worry about tomorrow?  Not like the Vermonters of yore, who were thrifty, and knew the virtues of saving. 

Gas Tax Takes Its Toll
From the Caledonian Record, June 17, 2009

There wasn't much resistance to the tax, not really because people are fervent about the bridge and road schedule, but because it is such a small tax, and everybody can afford five cents more a gallon, or $1 a tank full.

Not everyone, though. People who use heavy over the road vehicles are seeing a very significant increase in the fuel bills. We talked to one such person, and his pain is real. His total from the new tax on his gallons bought for use in June is $163. Add that to the already instituted tax of $1,034, and his gas tax for one month of over-the-road use is $1,197. That's for one month. If his price and use over 12 months is constant, his yearly gas tax is $14,364.

The Texas Approach
From Vermont Tiger, June 18, 2009

Texas is lowering taxes to attract business and stimulate growth.  Insert "gasp!" sound here.?

"Our research indicates that low taxes are vital to a vibrant private sector," Heflin said. "Texas’ economy is the envy of the nation because our state leaders have kept taxes and spending low, which has enabled businesses to use more of their resources for job creation."

Are Speculators Driving Up the Price of Oil?
By Dan McClean, Burlington Free Press, June 21, 2009

To argue that government micro regulation can improve the situation is the equivalent of arguing that since a trained surgeon, using the latest technology, might help reduce your pain, a med student with a cleaver could do so as well. Given that choice, I will put up with my pain.

Trade, Then and Now
From Vermont Tiger, June 18, 2009

It's somewhat ironic that an anthropologist studying Native Americans in Vermont has a better handle on the benefits of trade than a U.S. Senator.  The Freeps reports on Johnson State College students, under the supervision of Professor Corbett Torrence, doing an archeological dig on the banks of the Lamoille River:

The students have uncovered evidence of trade. The rocks for spearheads came from New York, New Hampshire, the Lake Champlain shoreline and the Otter Creek area.  Trade was not simply an economic exchange, Torrence said. "We need to think about it in a social context. Trade is friendship," he said. "Vermont has a long history of barter, exchange and cooperation. We see that in the original Vermonters."

Analysis: ATV Riders Flex Political Muscle
Enthusiasts turn out to lobby for access
By Candace Page, Burlington Free Press, June 17, 2009

A roaring chain saw provided the most startling moment at this week’s hearing on all-terrain vehicle access to state lands, but the most lasting impression was left by ATV riders themselves.??About 250 avid ATVers packed a Montpelier auditorium in as clear a case of effective political organizing as Vermont has seen.

They urged the Agency of Natural Resources to adopt a proposed rule that would allow ATV connector trails in state forests and other state lands for the first time.??About 15 people spoke in opposition the rule, including the man who wielded a chain saw to help make his point, but their testimony was buried under an avalanche of pleas from ATV clubs.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Obama Fiddles While Iran Burns
From Pajamas Media, June 9, 2009

Iran is on fire. And as I watch a potentially revolutionary, internet-driven uprising unfold over vote-counting, (vote-counting!) and not over the torture, unlawful imprisonment, and mass murder of Iranian citizens by its own leaders, I only now begin to appreciate the possible psychological impact of that first free, public election held in Iraq, courtesy of brave American blood.

Russia and China Sign 100-Billion-Dollar Deal of the Century
From Pravda (Russia),June 18, 2009

A new deal between Russia and China in the sum of about $100 billion became the largest deal that has ever been signed between the two countries, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said as a result of the meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.

Are Hamas and Hezbollah Uniting to Crush Iranian Dissidents?
By Paul L. Williams, Family Security Matters, June 19, 2009

Encountering Hamas in Teheran is tantamount to meeting an African American at a KKK gathering. And yet, the Sunni terrorist group from the Palestinian Authority is now joining hands with the Shi’ite mullahs of Iran to crush street protests in favor of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and to solidify the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ground Forces Move in for Pakistan Offensive
By Rohan Sullivan and Asif Shahzad, Associated Press, June 19, 2009

Pakistani ground troops moved into Taliban-controlled areas Friday and engaged in the first gunbattle of a new offensive in the volatile northwest, as an aerial and artillery bombardment pounded other targets....

The coming operation in South Waziristan, along with one winding down in the Swat Valley further north, could be a turning point in Pakistan's years long and sometimes halfhearted fight against militancy.

BBC: Television for Dhimmis
By David J. Rusin, slamist Watch, June 17, 2009

Downplaying the threat of Islamism while simultaneously disparaging Western culture is the stock in trade of countless media outlets, but few have pursued this task with such vigor as the BBC. Though its well-documented bias in covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves as Exhibit A, the same worldview is expressed in the BBC's broad deference to Islam.

Obama Goes to Court
Part I: Locking in Miranda.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, June 15, 2009

Last Wednesday, Stephen F. Hayes of The Weekly Standard reported that the Obama administration has directed the FBI "to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan." Rest assured this directive will not be limited to Afghanistan, for President Obama has unleashed the FBI on a "Global Justice" initiative. He is strategically erasing the line separating our domestic body politic — our governing arrangements and the legal privileges of citizenship afforded by sovereignty — from the international arena — the realm of politics, diplomacy, intelligence, covert operations, and military force, where the United States pursues its interests among other sovereigns and factions, many of which are hostile to America. In the Age of Obama, all the world’s a crime scene.

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From Elsewhere

Obama's New Financial Regs - Worse Than We Imagined
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, June 17 2009

Hey kids! Let's create a brand, spanking, new federal bureaucracy to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards, and other financial instruments from their own stupidity!

That's just one of the nanny state goodie being proposed by the Obama administration to address what they say were the causes of the financial meltdown.

Global-Warming: Another Religion of Peace?
By Ben-Peter Terpstra, American Thinker, June 17, 2009

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is soft on the other "religion of peace," global-warming. June 16, 2009: The Age Newspaper, Melbourne, Australia reports:

Victoria is considering tougher laws to crack down on eco-terrorist attacks on power stations after a threat to a Melbourne power company executive by an extremist US group.

Senior Democrat Says Obama's Czars Unconstitutional
By Ken Klukows, AM 560 WIND, TownHall, June 15, 2009

Last week President Obama appointed yet another "czar" with massive government power, answering only to him. Even before this latest appointment, the top-ranking Democrat in the Senate wrote President Obama a letter saying that these czars are unconstitutional. President Obama’s "czar strategy" is an unprecedented power grab centralizing authority in the White House, outside congressional oversight and in violation of the Constitution.

Related: Is Government Health Care Constitutional?

The NEA's Latest Trick
Trying to Deny Military Families.
From The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2009

Public school teachers are supposed to teach kids to read, so it would be nice if their unions could master the same skill. In a recent letter to Senators, the National Education Association claims Washington, D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarships aren't working, ignoring a recent evaluation showing the opposite....

The NEA's letter was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility that 750,000 students in military families would benefit from vouchers. That idea was raised in a Senate hearing this month, when military families explained that frequent moves and inconsistent schooling was harmful to their children. "The creation of a school voucher program should be considered," Air Force wife Patricia Davis dared to say.

Related: The Private Schools No One Sees: In the world’s slums, the poor have taken to educating themselves.

Lawmakers Balk As Administration Tries to Redefine Central Bank's Role
By Neil Irwin and Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington Post, June 19, 2009

The Federal Reserve, which has been at the center of the government rescue of the financial system, is now on the hot seat, with a debate on Capitol Hill emerging over its responsibility for the crisis and its proper role in preventing such events in the future.

Lawmakers are simultaneously annoyed that the Fed did not do more to rein in the bad lending and other financial excesses that led to the financial crisis and recession, and wary of the Fed's aggressive steps over the past two years to combat them. The criticism of the Fed is increasingly loud, bipartisan and from both chambers of Congress.

Why The Rush?
From Investor's Business Daily, June 19, 2009

A pattern is emerging for this new presidency. The more radical and far-reaching the plan, the less time the public gets to debate it. Is this due to ambition or fear of push-back?

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