North Archives - June 30, 2009
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letter to Vermont's Legislature, Public Assets Institute, et.al.
By Tom Licata
If the public services you
so frequently advocate for are of such social value, why is it that you
only (for all practical purposes) go after the rich when seeking to fund
these common public goods? And when these people object to their
seemingly confiscatory taxation they are – as in Glen Wright’s case – ridiculed.
Among other things, they are accused of being "whiners."
The implication of your continued
"soak the rich" policy-assault only reinforces the view that taxes are
a "bad thing," rather than the public common good that you profess them
to be; as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "Taxes are the price we pay
for a civilized society."
Zoning Part II
By Martin Harris
the contemporary preference, in blue-state politics, to denigrate (are
we allowed to use that verb any more?) the equality-of-treatment-under-law
notion of the Founding Fathers. Instead, the Left embraces the notion that
(in the words of Supreme-Court-Justrix-in-Waiting Sonya Sotomayor) "Personal
experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see". You can read this
and similar quotes in the 22 June issue of National Review. The outcome-intent
is to legitimize the idea of producing different legal results for different
identity groups, so as to thereby attract the grateful votes of the favored
among those groups, while dismissing the probable negative reaction of
those groups selected to be dis-favored. In blue states like Vermont, the
same sort of identity-group discrimination extends to permit applicants,
the equally germane but not-as-famous quote coming from Assistant Attorney-General
Julie Brill. She offered this legal advice to the Randolph Zoning Board
a few years back: …"in cases like these, the [actual, printed] zoning regulations
are really quite irrelevant…" referring to a private-sector builder’s permit
application to build rental housing near her own house.
Obama-Kennedy Health Care "Reform"
By John McClaughry
1965 the U.S. has had a mandatory single payer system for hospitalization
and physician's services for over-65 seniors. It's called Medicare, and
it's an inspiration for Obama and his allies. Participation is mandatory,
because if you don't agree to accept Medicare, you can't collect your social
security retirement checks.
Medicare is now insolvent.
Its hospitalization insurance fund will not be able to pay for services
after 2017 unless new financing is found. Its projected unfunded liabilities
(payments above revenues) between now and 2082 total $36 trillion.
Medicare underpays physicians
and hospitals. (So do Vermont's Catamount Health, which pays at Medicare
rates, and Medicaid, which pays even less.) Obama and his allies are planning
to finance much of their "reform" by further cutting payments to providers.
is Beginning to Stink
Barack Obama's poll numbers
are slipping. The root cause of this is people are discovering that they
disagree overwhelmingly with his policies, particularly in regard to spending
and growth of government. Americans don't want massive deficits each year,
we don't want to hand our children a $10 trillion debt, we don't want more
government bailouts, takeovers or big government intrusions. Increasingly,
we don't believe Obama has a plan to deal with these problems. In fact,
it looks like he's going to make things worse. (View the latest Rasmussen
# # #
years ago, Democrats stood in the schoolhouse doors and told little black
kids you can’t go in; today Democrats tell little black kids you can’t
J. Christie, Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey.
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Soft Nosed Media
Tiger, June 26, 2009
fall, the election campaigns of Peter Shumlin and his fellow Democrats
did not include any mention of their intention to introduce a gay marriage
bill as their first order of business when the Legislature convened.
Gay marriage was not part of their platform. But when they introduced
this stealth legislation, there was no criticism from the press.
Perhaps this should not have surprised me, since many newspapers, including
The Valley News, The Rutland Herald and The Vermont Standard favored the
legislation, and made their preference known editorially. However,
that should not have deterred them from honest, complete reporting.
Flowing Wine Industry
the Caledonia Record, June 29, 2009
of us Vermonters, whether by birth or by migration from the flatlands,
are justly proud of those things distinctly Vermont. Barre and granite
are synonymous. So are Rutland and marble, St. Johnsbury and maple syrup,
blown glass and Quechee, BagBalm and Lyndonville. Whoever would have guessed,
though, that Vermont would have a budding wine industry. It does.
Vermont Tiger, June 29, 2009
is a problem for the board that spends the money and the voters who elected
the members of that board. But this story does point to the need for a
larger, attitudinal change in Vermont (and, indeed, the nation): simply
saying that there is not enough money to "keep pace with expenditures,"
is what was once-upon-a-time called a "cop out." The money doesn't spend
itself and if "expenditures" are somehow beyond the ability of an elected
board's control, if they simply occur, like the weather, then what is the
point of a board?
the problem is with the system, then maybe it is time to change the system.
the problem is with the people, then maybe it is time to change the people.
Sad And Unjust Cultural Given
the Caledonia Record, June 25, 2009
there you have it. The police chief and police generally are suspicious
characters, guilty of routine coverups of their foibles while a dangerous
assailant gets away with a laughable charge after gouging a police officer's
eye and attempting to strangle him.
it because the injured victim was a cop, not an "innocent" victim? Sadly,
that seems the case. Police, in our culture, are not to be trusted. Worse,
assaults on police officers are to be expected by those officers.
can rightfully expect correspondingly lesser charges than if they had assaulted
ordinary citizens. The cultural bottom line: Suspect the cop. Coddle the
Catch Shows Need for Clean Lake
Burlington Free Press, June 24, 2009
picture of 14-year-old Patrick Dupont of North Hero holding his record
trout caught during the Lake Champlain International Father's
Day Fishing Derby is one more powerful statement on why we need
to take good care of the Broad Lake and its inhabitants.
Investigating BED Rate Increase
WCAX News June 24 2009
Electric Department customers will see their rates skyrocket at the end
of this week and the state's Public Service Board wants to know why.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Change Iran: Movement Seeks to Eliminate 'Supreme Leader' Position
From Threats Watch, June
Folks, this is huge. Huge.
A report from Saudi Arabia's al-Arabiya, Iranian
clerics seek supreme leader alternative, indicates that Rafsanjani
is seeking to eliminate the Supreme Leader. Not just the man, but the position
and role presiding over Iranian politics and the Iranian society. ...
My ears first perked up when
word made it through the grapevines over the weekend that Rafsanjani had
been meeting with other Ayatollahs and clerics in Qom, and had among them
a representative of Iraq's Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
Why? Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
in 2007 made two very critical statements: that "I am a servant of all
Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a
Christian," and that Islam can exist within a democracy without theological
conflict. You will never hear such words slip past the lips of Iran's Ayatollah
Sistani's presence at the
Rafsanjani talks in Qom, Iran, through a representative brings therefore
added significance. And the al-Arabiya report above seems to suggest
that Rafsanjani is not seeking Sistani's support for superficial reasons.
Searches for Swat Militants as Leader Killed (Update1)
By Khalid Qayum and Farhan
Sharif, Bloomberg.com, June 25, 2009
Pakistani security forces
are undertaking "search and sweep operations" against Taliban insurgents
in the northwestern Swat valley, the military said in a statement, amid
reports a key militant was killed in the area.
Mauro, FrontPageMagazine.com, June 26, 2009
It does not exaggerate the
stakes in Somalia to say that for the first time in its history, Al-Qaeda
is about to have rule over an entire country. The Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based
affiliate of the group, assassinated
the country’s national security minister on June 18 and currently controls
the entire south and large portions of the central parts of the nation,
along with parts of the capital. Should the terrorists succeed, they will
also have extremist Somali networks in the West to call upon to expand
their jihad and support their efforts.
Global Fifth Amendment
Obama Goes to Court,
Part II: Miranda Meets Al-Qaeda.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National
Review, June 16, 2009
In the first
part of this article, Andrew C. McCarthy explained how Dickerson
v. United States changed Miranda warnings from a tool for protecting rights
into a right in itself, disregarding an act of Congress. Here he shows
how those warnings, intended for use in domestic law enforcement, came
to be part of the fight against global terrorism, with unfortunate consequences.
Naval Cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing
Lee, The Jamestown Foundation, June 24, 2009
The growing presence of Chinese
naval power around the Indian Ocean, which serves as the conduit between
the Gulf states and Southeast Asia, is deepened by its support facilities
in Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the deepwater facility in
Pakistan’s Gwadar port. Indian military experts have pointed out that these
bases have the effect of "virtually encircling India" (Hindustan Times,
March 17), and senior officials have expressed explicit concerns about
these developments. According to Indian Defense Minister M.M. Paalam Raju,
"We [India] are taking steps [to see] that Chinese influence does not pose
a threat" (Zeenews.com, June 1). The increased naval cooperation between
Pakistan and China in recent years and the development of the Gwadar naval
base are becoming a magnet of growing strategic concerns for India that
may not only transform the regional military balance by sparking an arms
race but also significantly reshape the regional security architecture.
By Amir Taheri, Family Security
Matters, June 24 2009
Is Iran replaying its revolution
of 30 years ago? At first glance, there are many similarities between this
revolt and the 1979 one.
Letter to Ali Khameini
daughter and I are both Neda's age.
Parvaneh Vahidmanesh, The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2009
just like the shah, silence the voices of protestors with gunshots. But
don't forget that the shah's harsh methods undid him and caused his regime
to fall.... Ali Khamenei, if you pursue the path you have been following,
our people's anger will take a different form. It will turn you and your
family, as it did the shah's and his, into forlorn and helpless individuals
with the word "exile" stamped across your foreheads.
# # #
Climate Change Climate Change
number of skeptics is swelling everywhere.
Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2009
Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the
science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful,
Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation.
you haven't heard of this politician, it's because he's a member of the
Australian Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to pass
a climate-change bill, the Australian Parliament is preparing to kill its
own country's carbon-emissions scheme. Why? A growing number of Australian
politicians, scientists and citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused
Official Urges Buying of Gold, U.S. Land: Report
Watch, June 29, 2009
Communist Party research chief said Thursday that China should buy gold
and U.S. real estate rather than Treasurys, according to a Reuters report.
Lianzhong, who is head of economics at the party's policy research office,
said the U.S. dollar is poised for a fall, making gold and land better
investments for China's $1.95 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, the
Republican Infighting Matters
conservatives win, fumbling moderates get clobbered.
Thomas Sowell, National Review, June 23, 2009
poll last week showed that far more Americans describe themselves as conservatives
than as liberals. Yet Republicans have been clobbered by the Democrats
in both the 2006 elections and the 2008 elections.
a country with more conservatives than liberals, it is puzzling — in fact,
amazing — that we have the furthest left president of the United States
in history, as well as the furthest left speaker of the House of Representatives.
especially, need to think about what this means. If you lose when the other
guy has all the high cards, there is not much you can do about it. But
when you have the high cards and still keep taking a beating, then you
need to rethink how you are playing the game.
Death Knell for U.S. Jobs, Low-Cost Energy
Bob Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 22, 2009
the most destructive legislation in our country’s history will soon be
voted on in the House — the Waxman-Markey tax bill in the guise of addressing
climate change. It will have dire consequences for every American. It will
raise the cost of energy with little or no environmental benefit. Independent
experts estimate that it will cost Americans more than $2 trillion in just
over eight years.
Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study
Monica Gabriel, CNS News, June 25, 2009
you are using coal fired power plants and half the country’s electricity
comes from coal powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas
emitter for another?"
Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues
EPA's internal nightmare over global warming: Part 1
Thomas Fuller, The Examiner, June 25, 2009
inside the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed many of the claims
made by analyst Alan Carlin, the economist/physicist who yesterday went
public with accusations that science was being ignored in evaluating the
danger of CO2.
# # #