North Archives - July 01, 2008
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Corrupt Government Squeeze on WalMart
By John McClaughry
is simply the government requiring an applicant to buy its permit with
a forced contribution - an unlegislated tax - payable to some public or
private organization designated by the government. This is as politically
corrupt now as the Church's practice was ecclesiastically corrupt in the
16th century. ... But once the simony principle wins general acceptance,
Vermont government will become as corrupt as the Church had become before
Luther's challenge forced reform.
the Economic Thrashing
By Jim Black
It is very frustrating to
hear Senate leaders say that Vermont has the ability to influence global
climate change and save polar bears, then turn around and say that they
are powerless to help Vermonters cope with their own economic problems.
Perhaps it is Vermonters who are being thrashed.
By Martin Harris
values haven’t dropped, State government hasn’t had to face the test the
251 Towns failed last time, when values dropped in the early 90’s and assessments
didn’t because, as one political figure explained to me "the schools couldn’t
afford the cuts". Now, of course, with assessments legally de-coupled from
rates (unlike the time-honored traditional rule, whereby, unless spending
goes up, a rise in assessment value causes a drop in tax rates) the State
can choose to re-assess or not, as it pleases, and to hold the rates or
change them, again as it pleases. That’s been the pattern with the last
few relatively tiny drops in rates as assessment have increased by percentages
up into the 40 percent range.
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Week’s Mail Bag
Rob Roper notes (06/24/08)
that "Symington is the one 'stuck
More like reverse, ain't
"We are opposed to state
interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education
of children as an infringement of the fundamental Democratic doctrine that
the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures
the highest type of American citizenship and the best government."
Democratic National Platform of 1892
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Weekly News Round-Up
Views On IBM
From VermontTiger.com, June
This is an old dodge.
Blame critics for being negative rather than arguing the merits of their
case. If our criticisms were as laughably false as the Progs and
others like to say they are, then nobody would listen to them. If
this were, say, Texas – or New Hampshire – and we were arguing that taxes
are too high, regulation too baroque, and the general attitude toward business
too hostile, then we would be dismissed, rightly, as crackpots and nobody
would pay us any attention.
Hostility Toward Business Hurts Vermont Families
By Rob Roper, VTGOP Press
Release, June 26, 2008
Now it is Vermont’s workers
and families (not to mention those in the social safety net who depend
upon the tax dollars generated by these incomes) who are paying the price
for Democrat’s lack of vision, misplaced priorities, and economic ignorance.
Role II: Don't Give Our Children A Choice or Voice
From VermontTiger.com, June
We've referenced Off
The Rails many times here at VT. For those of you
who have not read it, the short version is that given the changing demographics
of Vermont, and the likely future path of state revenues and expenditures
resulting from those demographic changes, Vermont will either have a far
higher tax burden than the state has ever experienced or we will have to
make significant changes in our spending and spending priorities. The U.S.
faces similar problems due to promises the government has made, promises
that essentially force future taxpayers to do things they never had a chance
to vote on.
Lawmakers Bemoan Catamount
By Daniel Barlow, Vermont
Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, June 25, 2008
Lawmakers voiced frustration
Tuesday that enrollments for Catamount Health, Vermont's latest insurance
product aimed at reducing the number of uninsured, are far below expectations.
... Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, also a member of the Senate's health
care committee, said he believed the only way to greatly decrease the number
of uninsured Vermonters would be to follow in the footsteps of states such
as Massachusetts and mandate health insurance.
Percent of Mass. Taxpayers Uninsured, Some Fined
About Health Insurance by Art Woolf
From VermontTiger.com, June
The present energy crisis
drives home a depressing point – America has
lost the old "can do" spirit. There are a hundred
reasons why we can't drill off the coasts, drill in Alaska, import ethanol
from Brazil, build nuclear plants ... can't do anything except, perhaps,
sue OPEC. That's what we do. We file lawsuits.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
The view from the
By Carter Andress, National
Review, June 24, 2008
Iraq is central, if not the
key nation, in the Arab world. Baghdad is ground zero. Not the mountains,
caves, and isolation of the Afghan-Pakistani border. When Robert Baer,
former CIA operative and now commentator for Time,
states that "al Qaeda is an idea, a way of thinking," when he argues against
our taking the war on terror to Iraq, he is right on, but not in the way
he uses that statement. What is the death knell of the efficacy of an idea?
When reality proves it does not work. Bin Laden himself has said the war
in Iraq is central to his jihad, and we are taking him at his word here.
The Muslim world sees that the al-Qaeda idea kills far more Muslims than
infidels. The Muslim world sees the failure of the suicide bomber — the
only significant weapon of jihadi terrorism — to force out the American
Army from one of the greatest lands of Islam. The al-Qaeda idea has died
a violent death on the battlefields of Iraq.
From Investor's Business
Daily, June 24, 2008
Only last fall, the head
of the U.N.'s nuclear "watchdog" said Iran would need three to eight years
to acquire an atomic bomb. Now he says six months to a year. Is he dishonest
or incompetent — or both?
NATO Must Win in Afghanistan: A Central Front in the War on Terrorism
By Sally McNamara, Heritage
Foundation, June 23, 2008
With a catalogue of successful
and thwarted al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on Britain and Europe since 9/11,
it is imperative that all NATO members recommit to the mission in Afghanistan.
The terrorist attacks on London and Madrid serve as stark reminders of
why NATO undertook the Afghanistan mission in the first place. Europe cannot
afford to underestimate the incredible momentum that Islamist extremists—at
home and abroad—will gain from signs of weakness by the Alliance in Afghanistan.
Army Decimated During Recent Fighting
By Bill Roggio, The Long
Journal, June 26, 2008
The Mahdi Army suffered a
significant blow during fighting against Iraqi and Coalition forces this
year, according to an Iraq intelligence report. The heavy casualties suffered
by the Mahdi Army have forced Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi
Army and the Sadrist political movement, to change his tactics and disband
the Mahdi Army in favor of a small, secretive fighting force.
of the Islamic Republic of Iran
By Amil Imani, "Freedom
of Iran," June 26, 2008
The intolerant monolithic
Islamists are on the march, lashing out with fury at non-Islamic people
and cultures. This cult of violence and death spares neither the living
nor the non-living heritage of humanity: wherever and whenever it can it
commits culturecide—wiping out other people’s precious cultural treasures.
Not long ago, the Islamists’ destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan
shocked the world and exposed the savage nature of this cult of violence
depravity. Yet, much more destruction on a broad range is taking place
in Iran under the direction of the Islamist theocrats.
Administration to Remove North Korea from Terror Watch List
By Rick Moran, American
Thinker, June 25, 2008
This gives me a sinking feeling
in the pit of my stomach: Steve
Clemons is reporting that the Bush Administration plans to remove North
Korea as a state sponsor of terror. ... One has to wonder how serious
the Bush Administration is about the War on Terror. He appears to have
totally caved to the striped pants crowd at the State Department - the
folks who never met a thug they couldn't grovel before.
# # #
From The Wall Street Journal,
June 30, 2008
To deflect the GOP effort
to relax the offshore-drilling ban – and thus boost supply while demand
will remain strong – Democrats also say that most of the current leases
are "nonproducing." The idea comes from a "special report" prepared by
the Democratic staff of the House Resources Committee, chaired by Mr. Rahall.
"If we extrapolate from today's production rates on federal lands and waters,"
the authors write, the oil companies could "nearly double total U.S. oil
production" (their emphasis).
In other words, these whiz
kids assume that every acre of every lease holds the same amount of oil
and gas. Yet the existence of a lease does not guarantee that the geology
holds recoverable resources. Brian Kennedy of the Institute for Energy
Research quips that, using the same extrapolation, the 9.4 billion acres
of the currently nonproducing moon should yield 654 million barrels of
oil per day.
Will Freedom Succeed?
By The Reverend Robert A.
Sirico Heritage Foundation, April 24, 2008
We must renew that critical
engagement, not just with regard to the how of freedom, but also,
I think, with regard to the why—the more metaphysical questions.
I fear that if freedom is lost on our watch, it will be lost because we
have lost the memory of its roots, and have become fascinated only with
its practicality and its efficiencies.
Efficiency, of course, is
important. But remember this: The fact that one can accomplish something
doesn't tell us whether that thing ought to have been accomplished. We
have to look deeper, and my fear is that many today live off of the legacy
of that heritage without refreshing, in each age, our grasp of why
freedom was born.
Wrong, So Often, For So Long, Yet It's Europe We Want To Copy
By Thomas Sowell, Investor’s
Business Daily, June 24, 2008
If Europeans have higher
minimum wage laws and more welfare state benefits, then we should have
higher minimum wage laws and more welfare state benefits, according to
such people. If Europeans restrict pharmaceutical companies' patents and
profits, then we should do the same. Some justices of the U.S. Supreme
Court even seem to think that they should incorporate ideas from European
laws in interpreting American laws.
Before we start imitating
someone, we should first find out whether the results that they get are
better than the results that we get. Across a very wide spectrum, the U.S.
has been doing better than Europe for a very long time.
By Mona Charen, National
Review, June 27, 2008
Explaining why the statute
violated the constitutional prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment,
Justice Kennedy declared that, "Evolving standards of decency must embrace
and express respect for the dignity of the person, and the punishment of
criminals must conform to that rule." Will someone please ask Justice Kennedy
and his liberal fellows this question: If it’s all a matter of "evolving
standards," then why pretend to abide by a written document at all? And
whose evolving standards?
As Justice Samuel Alito establishes
in a devastating dissent, Kennedy distorts the historical record to bolster
his claim that the U.S. is moving toward a "national consensus" against
capital punishment in such cases. In point of fact, the opposite is more
nearly the case, but the Court’s own previous rulings have prevented the
people from fully enacting their policy preferences. "When the law punishes
by death," Kennedy wrote, "it risks its own sudden descent into brutality,
transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint."
So that’s it. Preacher Kennedy is not comfortable. And, as Alito notes,
"Although the Court has much to say on this issue, most of the Court’s
discussion is not pertinent to the Eighth Amendment question at hand."
Blame the Oil 'Speculators'
By Jon Birger, Fortune,
June 27, 2008
Here's a suggestion: The
next time a Congressional committee wants to hold a hearing on how "speculators"
are driving up oil prices, each committee member should first be required
to demonstrate - preferably in their opening remarks - a basic understanding
of the mechanics of futures trading. ...
If our representatives did
understand the oil markets, they'd know that the true telltale sign of
a speculative bubble is not rising trading volumes but rising oil inventories.
Speculators would be hoarding oil - building up inventories either in anticipation
of higher prices or as part of a scheme to drive prices there. Yet according
to the Department of Energy, U.S. oil inventories are now at below-average
levels. U.S. oil stocks stand at 309 million barrels, versus 330 million
in June 2005.
By Alan Caruba, American
Conservative Union Foundation, June 25, 2008
Today’s schools reflect the
opening quote from a friend of mine, a fellow with a master’s degree in
education who tried his hand at teaching and discovered that his school
was a jungle of incompetent teachers, indifferent administrators, and a
majority of students for whom the expectation of good behavior and a dedication
to learning was laughable. And his school was every public school.
Ignore Real Constitution
By Donald Devine, American
Conservative Union Foundation, June 25, 2008
Even the very best judges
fail to appreciate the real Constitution. It is not their fault. The document
is simply ignored in law school. All they get of it is a sentence at a
time followed by pages of judicial opinions about what that line really
means. Lawyers rarely see the whole document. One lawbook mentioned that
an outsider had read its proof copy and suggested printing the entire Constitution
at the end, which it did, as if this were a radically novel idea.
The reason judges read other
judges and lawyers opinions about the Constitution rather than the document
itself is that judicial doctrine today holds that the Constitution is simply
what judges say it is. That is what the "supremacy clause" says, right?
At least that is what the judges think; so it must be so. Why bother taking
the really radical step of reading it, right?
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