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True North Archives - July 27, 2010
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

Radio Archives

Radio archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited time only). True North airs daily between 11:00 am - 12:00 noon on Radio Vermont's WDEV, AM 550 & FM 96.1, and on WTWK, 1070 AM (Burlington).


Featured Articles

Vermont Tax Law Change Places Disproportionate Burden on Self-Employed
By Steve Cairns

As part of its 2010 efforts to increase revenues and stem the flow of red ink in the state budget, the Vermont legislature enacted several changes to the way the "income sensitivity" based property tax credits are calculated. Several of these are retroactive and have profoundly affected some previously filed property tax credit applications. One additional change will have a dramatic impact on the calculation of the credit for many more homeowners, primarily the self-employed. Beginning next year employees will enjoy a considerable advantage over the self-employed when property tax credits are computed because they will still be allowed to deduct expenditures that will no longer be deductible by the self-employed.

The ObamaCare Tax on Your Existence
By John McClaughry

In a startling development last week, the Obama Justice Department, defending against a host of lawsuits to invalidate the ObamaCare law, declared that the law's individual insurance mandate is not founded on the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. Surprise! It's a new tax!

The reason obviously, was that trying to hang the ObamaCare coverage mandate on the interstate commerce clause looked more and more like a loser in court.
                       

The 2% Solution
By Martin Harris

If, as a writer, you lack the imagination to invent a late 19th century London private-eye (with MD side-kick) as Conan Doyle did, you can parasite-ize on his inventiveness anyway by appropriating the fictional characters, giving one of them a heroin addiction and the other a cure; calling your opus "the 7% solution" and even getting your little tale movie-ized. That’s what one Nicholas Meyer did in the mid-70’s. His Holmes/Watson theft left no lasting literary footprint, but his title did, and has since been applied to everything from debt-growth analysis to diabetes management. Other numbers have been used as well; one is "the 2% solution", a 2005 political treatise by one Matthew Miller and now a Sierra Club catch-phrase for carbon-footprint reduction. Not to be outdone, the Vermont Education Department has its own "2% solution": a pro forma budget-cut suggestion to local school districts. Since annual K-12 spending is now above $1.4B, 2% works out to all of $23MM. As I’ve laid out the basic math in earlier columns, this amount could be captured by raising the pupil-teacher ratio from 10-to-1 to 12-to-1, about where it was in the cave-dweller school days of the previous decade.

TN Video Extra, 7-26-10

Rob Roper exposes House Majority Leader Floyd Nease's sign that tells Vermont Democrat representatives how to vote.

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Quotable
"The desire to rule is the mother of heresies."
– St. John Chrysostom


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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The Nation’s Worst State Attorneys General
By Hans Bader, Competitive Enterprise Institute, July 22, 2010

Vermont's State Attorney William Sorrell named as one of the nations worst.

Willoughby Lake Access Can Be an Act 250 Crap Shoot
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 23, 2010

Mark and Julie Pernokas want to construct a 6-foot-wide gravel path extending from the end of an existing, previously permitted residential gravel driveway and ending about 35 feet from Lake Willoughby's shoreline. The Wellesley, Mass., and Westmore couple has received a town zoning permit for construction of the path, which will offer water bars. The application for the local zoning permit was approved by Westmore Zoning Administrator Andrew J. Berley in mid-May.

That's not enough, though. They now have to get an Act 250 permit to build their path on their own property down to the area containing an existing boathouse, concrete pad and dock, all still their own property. In their own words in the Act 250 application, "It is currently worth noting that since the creation of this subdivision, there are no means by which the current residents have safe access down slope to their dock and waterfront through their own property."

"Three Strikes...You're Out: Bad Day for Vermont Democrats!"
Vermont GOP Newsletter, July 22, 2010

Democrats in Montpelier can't seem to get their act together these days.  First, two candidates for governor, Peter Shumlin and Susan Bartlett, joined their super-majority friends in putting interest group politics above job creation and balanced budgets during a State House press conference.  Then, Peter Shumlin and Matt Dunne went at it over accusations about inaccuracies in a mail piece sent to voters.  And now we learn that Democrat Attorney General Bill Sorrell has been named the 6th worst Attorney General in the country.

"Vermonters are fed up with Montpelier Democrats who are so comfortable in office that they forget about the most important issues facing Vermonters," said Erik Mason, Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party. "Whether it is putting interest groups before fiscal responsibility and job creation, arguing over who sponsored a bill to bankrupt our health care system or being called out as one of the worst Attorneys General in the country, it is clear that Democrats in Montpelier are out of touch."

Peter Shumlin's Pie In The Sky
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 21, 2010

Peter Shumlin's first TV political ad goes straight to four dear-to-his-heart issues: universal, single-payer health care; early childhood education; renewable energy (i.e. wind turbines); and connecting rural Vermonters to high-speed Internet service. He is to be commended for two things: making it very clear what he wants to do if he is elected governor and making it equally clear why Vermonters should not elect him governor.

Three of his four issues are financially completely unsustainable. Let's start with universal, single-payer health care. Despite having successfully cornered and spent a quarter of a million dollar legislative grant for yet another study intended to lead to a legislative recommendation to establish single-payer, universal health care, Shumlin just will not face the fact that Vermont simply has no way to raise the $2 billion minimum necessary to pay for it. It's pie in the sky.

Tea Party, Dude
From Vermont Tiger, July 22, 2010

As we are all aware, the political movement known as the Tea Party is an affiliation of racists, rubes, and retards who have been left behind by the marvels of the 21st century.  Those who call themselves members tend to move their lips when they read and are convinced Charles Darwin was a communist.  They are, simultaneously, exceedingly dangerous and not to be taken seriously.

We know all this because the political elites and the mainstream media have told us so.  And they, of course, are not to be doubted.

Even so, we thought our readers might be interested in meeting a real live Tea Party person who also happens to be Vermont Tiger's chairman.  Jack Harding will be joining thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of other knuckle draggers in Washington late next month to demonstrate in support of such radical notions as balanced budgets and an end to union control of the economy.  Jack explains his reasons in today's featured post.  We'll take up some space here to introduce him to readers interested in understanding just what sort of person is drawn over to the dark side.

The Prebate Scam
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 20, 2010

Some minor changes in the school tax prebate/rebate tax rules are causing some people to cry out in pain. They aren't going to get prebates as large as they did last year, and, horrors, some of them are going to have to pay a larger share of their property taxes.

Guess who is crying the most? Certainly not the people who pay their full property tax bills. It wouldn't matter if they cried out. Nobody has listened to them since Ralph Wright finished installing his income redistribution scheme in Act 60 10 years ago and the Democratic legislators Act 68 later.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

China Filling America's Vacuum
From Investor’s Business Daily, July 21, 2010

As the U.S. retreats from the world stage, the nation's top military officer is warning us about China's military buildup and intentions. Already, China is telling us to keep off the grass. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, visiting U.S. troops at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea on Wednesday, talked about his growing concerns about China.

The Coming End Of Islamic Fascism In Iran
Crucial signs that freedom is not only possible but imminent.
By Reza Kahlili, Forbes Magazine, July 22, 2010

Unrest is everywhere: among students, teachers, union workers, Iranian regular army officers and, most importantly, the merchants at Tehran's bazaar, who had until now been supportive of the regime and who helped finance Khomeini's rise. The traders in the bazaar went on strike in early July to protest an increase in income taxes, and the regime let loose their thugs to intimidate them and force an end to the strike, even stabbing a merchant to death.

The Islamic rulers are losing control of their people and their economy. Inflation is on the rise, government workers are not being paid in a timely fashion and people are suffering to make ends meet. Recent sanctions will put more pressure on an already destabilized situation in Iran.

Related Article: Rising Speculation About Bombing Iran’s Nukes

Afghan Villagers Battle the Taliban in Ghazni
By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, July, 2010

At The Weekly Standard, I rounded up the news of Afghan villagers in Ghazni province who stood up to a force of Taliban fighters infiltrating from neighboring Uruzgan province. The news is welcome as it gives hope that the Afghan people can eventually organize to oppose the Taliban, much as the Sunni tribes in Iraq opposed al Qaeda.

Fanning the Flames of Jihad
By Scott Stewart, Strategic Forecasters, July 22, 2010

On July 11, 2010, al-Malahim Media, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published the first edition of its new English-language online magazine "Inspire." The group had tried to release the magazine in late June, but for some reason — whether a technical glitch, virus (as rumored on some of the jihadist message boards) or cyberattack — most of the initial file released was unreadable.

The magazine was produced by someone who has a moderate amount of technological savvy, who speaks English well and who uses a lot of American idioms and phraseology. We did not note any hint of British or South Asian influence in the writing. A government source has suggested to us (and we have seen the claim repeated in the media) that Inspire was produced by a U.S citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia named Samir Khan. Khan is a well-known cyber-jihadist who has used the Web name Inshallahshaheed ("martyr by Allah’s will"). Given Khan’s background, history of publishing English-language jihadist material and the fact that he reportedly left the United States for Yemen in 2009 and has not returned, it does seem plausible that he is the driving force behind Inspire.

Rauf’s Dawa from the World Trade Center Rubble
Meet the Ground Zero Mosque imam’s Muslim Brotherhood friends.
By Andrew McCarthy, National Review, July 24, 2010

Feisal Abdul Rauf is the imam behind the "Cordoba Initiative" that is spearheading plans to build a $100 million Islamic center at Ground Zero, the site where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed by jihadists on 9/11. He is also the author of a book called What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America. But the book hasn’t always been called that. It was called quite something else for non-English-speaking audiences. In Malaysia, it was published as A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11.

How to Stop Defeating Ourselves
By Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, US Army (Ret), Family Security Matters, July 21, 2010

Diana West wrote: MG Paul Vallely has some excellent questions for our civilian and military leadership today. He also has some excellent answers -- all of which involve abandoning once and for the self-destructive, self-defeating, not to mention masochistic, strategies of "counter-insurgency" (COIN) doctrine and nation-building.

As Gen. Vallely points out: "The COIN principle is not based on winning; it is based on political whims and is not a true tenet of warfare. Warfare is, and always should be, about WINNING."

Winning this specific war against forces impelled by Islamic ideology calls for unconventional measures, Gen. Vallely writes, not the conventional actions followed by lengthy occupations such as we have seen and are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such an unconventional war doctrine, as he writes below, "heavily leverages the core capability to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America" -- what Gen. Vallely has long advocated as the "unheralded" Global Lily Pad strategy.

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From Elsewhere

U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs
From TorrentFreak, July 16, 2010

After the U.S. Government took action against several sites connected to movie streaming recently, nerves are jangling over the possibility that this is just the beginning of a wider crackdown. Now it appears that a free blogging platform has been taken down by its hosting provider on orders from the U.S. authorities on grounds of "a history of abuse". More than 73,000 blogs are out of action as a result.

RAHN: Abolish State Income Taxes
By Richard W. Rahn, The Washington Times, July 19, 2010

Did you know there are nine states that have no state income tax? The non-income-tax states (see accompanying chart) are geographically and economically diverse, ranging from the state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest, to Texas and Florida in the South, and up to New Hampshire in the Northeast.

Why is it that some of the states with the biggest fiscal problems have the highest individual state income tax rates, such as New York and California, while some of the states with the least fiscal problems have no state income tax at all? High-tax advocates will argue that the high-tax states provide much more and better state services, but the empirical evidence does not support the assertion. On average, schools, health and safety, roads, etc. are no better in states with income taxes than those without income taxes. More importantly, the evidence is very strong that people are moving from high-tax states to lower-tax-rate states - the migration from California to Texas and from New York to Florida being prime examples. (Next year, the combined federal, state and local income tax rate for a citizen of New York City will be well over 50 percent, as contrasted with approximately 38 percent for citizens of Texas and Florida.) If the citizens of California and New York really thought they were getting their money's worth for all of the extra state taxation, they would not be moving to low-tax states.

Five Ways to Tackle Spending and Deficits
By Brian Riedl, The Heritage Foundation, July 21, 2010

When Gallup recently polled Americans on the biggest threat to America's future well-being, the escalating national debt tied terrorism at the top.

They're right to worry. Washington's debt is on a completely unsustainable path. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the national debt held by the public — which stood below $6 trillion as late as 2008 — will top $20 trillion by the end of this decade if President Obama's budget is implemented. At 90 percent of the economy, such debt levels would risk large increases in interest rates and tax rates, and could also result in a Greece-like economic crisis. Beyond our own economic consequences, dumping this staggering debt load on future generations would be absolutely immoral.

Increased Worker Productivity Has Destroyed Millions of Jobs, and We Should Be Grateful
From Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance, July 17, 2010

Ron Bullock, chairman of Bison Gear & Engineering Corp, writing in the Washington Examiner:

"More effective foreign competition has led to increasing manufactured-goods trade deficits and the loss of 7 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 1980."
Don Boudreaux responds:
"This account – repeated ad nauseam – would be more plausible if it were also the case that U.S. manufacturing output, during this same time, had declined. But this output rose. Manufacturing output today is nearly 100 percent higher than it was 30 years ago (see chart). Importantly, manufacturing output is up while manufacturing employment is down for a reason that is cause not for the pessimism that universally attends accounts such as Mr. Bullock‘s but rather for optimism. That reason is substantial growth in productivity, which is the only source of sustained and widespread prosperity."
Cap-and-Trade Bill Would Make Housing Less Affordable
By Wendell Cox and Ronald Utt, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation, July 20, 2010

In addition to the devastating economic effects of cap and trade, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733)—introduced by Senators John Kerry (D–MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I–CT)—would likely lead to the same conditions that caused the housing bubble of a few years ago.

It would do this by providing financial incentives to the federally funded metropolitan planning organizations to shift transportation resources and passengers away from automobiles to public transit and forms of non-motorized transportation such as walking and bicycles. The bill further suggests that these be accomplished through "zoning and other land use regulations" that lead to a more crowded living environment. In turn, these communities of higher population density would be more amenable to forms of transportation common in the decades prior to the invention of the internal combustion engine.

Related Article: Democrats Pull Plug on Climate Bill

The Natural Gas Man
By Philip Klein, The American Spectator, July 22, 2010

T. Boone Pickens explains why America should embrace natural gas to end our dependence on foreign fuel.

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