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True North Archives - June 30, 2009
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Open letter to Vermont's Legislature, Public Assets Institute,
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."

Identity Zoning Part II
By Martin Harris

It’s 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.

The Obama-Kennedy Health Care "Reform"
By John McClaughry

Since 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.

B.O. is Beginning to Stink
By Rob Roper

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 results here)

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"Fifty 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 get out"

--Christopher J. Christie, Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey.

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Our Soft Nosed Media
From Vermont Tiger, June 26, 2009

Last 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.

Vermont's Flowing Wine Industry
From the Caledonia Record, June 29, 2009

All 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.

From Vermont Tiger, June 29, 2009

This 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?

If the problem is with the system, then maybe it is time to change the system.

If the problem is with the people, then maybe it is time to change the people.

A Sad And Unjust Cultural Given
From the Caledonia Record, June 25, 2009

And 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.

Is 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.

Assailants can rightfully expect correspondingly lesser charges than if they had assaulted ordinary citizens. The cultural bottom line: Suspect the cop. Coddle the felon.

Big Catch Shows Need for Clean Lake
The Burlington Free Press, June 24, 2009

The 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.

PSB Investigating BED Rate Increase
From WCAX News June 24 2009

Burlington 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.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Regime Change Iran: Movement Seeks to Eliminate 'Supreme Leader' Position
From Threats Watch, June 21, 2009

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 Khamenei. Ever.

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.

Pakistan Searches for Swat Militants as Leader Killed (Update1)
By Khalid Qayum and Farhan Sharif,, 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.

By Ryan Mauro,, 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.

The 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.

Deepening Naval Cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing
By Itamar 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" (, 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.

Revolution Redux?
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.

A Letter to Ali Khameini
Your daughter and I are both Neda's age.
By Parvaneh Vahidmanesh, The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2009

You, 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.

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From Elsewhere

The Climate Change Climate Change
The number of skeptics is swelling everywhere.
By Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2009

Steve 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.

If 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 global warming.

Chinese Official Urges Buying of Gold, U.S. Land: Report
Market Watch, June 29, 2009

A top Communist Party research chief said Thursday that China should buy gold and U.S. real estate rather than Treasurys, according to a Reuters report.

Li 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 report said.

Why Republican Infighting Matters
Savvy conservatives win, fumbling moderates get clobbered.
By Thomas Sowell, National Review, June 23, 2009

A Gallup 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.

In 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.

Republicans, 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.

Waxman-Markey: Death Knell for U.S. Jobs, Low-Cost Energy
By Bob Murray, Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 22, 2009

Perhaps 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.

Electric Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study
By Monica Gabriel, CNS News, June 25, 2009

"If 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?"

Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues told

The EPA's internal nightmare over global warming: Part 1
By Thomas Fuller, The Examiner, June 25, 2009

A source 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.

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