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True North Archives - September 29, 2009
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Featured Articles

Tinker Bell Lives
Tom Licata

Tinker Bell is the fairy in the play Peter Pan, who is revived from near death by the belief of the audience.  The Tinkerbell effect describes those things that exist only because people believe in them.  More on this later…

Vermont and our nation are being led down dangerous pathways by leaders who substitute wishful thinking for facts and economic realities.  If you believe that by wishing hard enough for something, it will come true; continue to vote for Montpelier’s fairytale-like political incumbents.  And, if you believe that Vermont’s economy can be revived from near death by this belief, Tinker Bell lives.

Onslaught of Gay Marriages
By Dwight MacPherson

The onslaught of gay marriages has not happened as proponents predicted. September 6th was the first gay marriage performed in Rutland at the Unitarian Church, a full six days after enactment. On September 1st, the first day gay marriage was allowed in Vermont, salivating media had to search far and wide to find small celebrations in varied corners of Vermont. 

Exit Fee (cum grano salis)
By Martin Harris

Such flight is so patently unfair to state governments trying desperately to orchestrate just the equitable level of social justice via wealth-transfer from producers to consumers (with a little skimmed off the top for the orchestra-players and conductors, of course) that it oughtta be outlawed or at least regulated via an internal passport system. So it was in the Soviet Union, for example, about which Progressive enthusiast Lincoln Steffens wrote, after a 1921 visit, "I have seen the future and it works". But I propose only an eminently reasonable exit fee, primarily to discourage such anti-social behavior, but also for government to profit from it if it can’t be dissuaded (kinda like the cig tax, doncha know). For starters it could be applicable only to the highest income taxpayers, just like the new federal income tax in 1913 which initially applied a 7% rate only to the top 1% of wage-earners, but then it could quickly grow, as the income tax did,  to a top marginal rate of 77% by 1918. Today, of course, the income tax is applicable to the top 55%, as an exit fee oughtta be. A year’s worth of earnings, reflecting maybe 15 future years of lost-to-the-state taxable earnings at say 7% seems fair to me, as an objective observer.

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"Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face."

--Ronald Reagan

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Fiscal Insanity Or Simply Politics As Usual
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 22, 2009

The United States Forest Service has just awarded $2.7 million of stimulus money, to be spent suppressing forest fires. Guess where? To the state of Washington where there are dozens of forest fires every year? No. To California where such fires burn ferociously as we write this? No. To Montana where there are some fires from time to time? No. To any of the Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, or Virginia, or any of the 42 remaining states? No. To whom, then?

To Washington, D.C.!

From Vermont Tiger, September 25, 2009

"We need to make some very brave decisions and we need to make them soon," Salmon said on Wednesday, when reached at his Montpelier office. "Reducing the maximum benefit check to $300 puts us in line with states like Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota."

…So Salmon's statement, which looks like a blunder in the short run, could be a piece of inspired long-run political strategy. Whether or not he was making those kind of calculations, Salmon has done the state a favor.  If his statement was a "gaffe," then we could use many more of them.

Use Caution In Court Overhaul
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 23, 2009

Vermont's Commission on Judicial Operation, created by the 2008 Legislature, has started streamlining the state's judicial system, seeking efficiency and money savings.

While we embrace both goals, some steps taken to increase efficiency are less effective than others. Also, a top down unified system controlled by the Vermont Supreme Court essentially eliminates local say in our state court system.

All Growth Is Not Equal
From Vermont Tiger, September 26, 2009

Friday's Freeps has an article describing Burlington as being in the "top quarter" for metropolitan regions in terms of GRP growth in 2009.  As the author notes, the details as to what sectors drove the growth are not available in the data, yet - but the BEA does provide that drilldown in great detail for years prior, once the data is dis-aggregated and posted on the BEA website. ...

What the data shows is that the government sector has grown from 12.03% of GDP in 2001 to 14.29% of GDP in 2008, in the Burlington area.  In other words, the trend is that GDP growth is not being fueled by economic growth, but rather, growth in government spending.  I would bet a plate of doughnuts that this government percentage of GDP grew in 2009, too, given the stimulating efforts of our federal patriarchs.  Considering what we see of the economic output indicators from the VT Department of Labor, it's highly unlikely any of that metropolitan growth was in private industry.

Greenpeace Arrives
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 24, 2009

As if Vermont didn't have enough problems with home-grown, wild-eyed liberals, we have now been invaded by Greenpeace, one of the most radical environmentalist groups in America. If there is one radical group that we don't need, in addition to all of the others that we have, it's Greenpeace. How is it that it has decided to come here? That's easy. Vermont, Maine, and Oregon are the most liberal states in the union. Nowhere is there a more congenial place for far-left fringe liberals. Greenpeace's arrival is a benchmark of Vermont's progress into the radical left pantheon.

Vermont Union, State Reach Impasse; 200 Job Cuts Likely
From, September 22, 2009

The Douglas Administration and the Vermont State Employees Union failed to reach agreement on a cost-savings plan last night. As a result, the state will begin the process of laying off 200 to 300 unionized workers. Some number of unfilled positions will also be eliminated in an effort by the administration to save $7.4 million in the current fiscal year (2010). It had appeared the two sides were close to a resolution over the weekend following the state's decision not to ask for actual pay cuts. Instead, both sides were using a combination of furlough days, unpaid holidays and the elimination of a wellness plan. However, the state, led by Administration Secretary Lunderville, insisted that the union had to pledge to find payroll savings for fiscal 2011 and 2012. The union did not want to tie its hands before a new, two-year contract was negotiated for those subsequent years.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Leader of the Free World No More
The torch has been passed.
The Washington Times, September 28, 2009

Israel is looking like the new leader of the Free World. The previous leader, the United States, resigned this role last week at the United Nations to take the position of global community organizer. This was made plain by President Obama in his speech, titled "Responsibility for Our Common Future," in which he heralded "a new chapter of international cooperation." By contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a blunt and forceful call to action in the central challenge facing free people today. This is the struggle of "civilization against barbarism" being fought by "those who sanctify life against those who glorify death."

Russia and Islam are not Separate
Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda
By Konstantin Preobrazhensky,The Center for Counter Intelligence and Security Studies

Putin continues the traditional Russian policy of giving privileges to the Muslim elite. Today's Russian Minister of Healthcare, Mikhail Zurabov, is a Chechen. His political agenda includes the total destruction of the Russian healthcare system, looking like revenge for the war in Chechnya. Putin shows no concern over that.

Strategically Russia is surrendering to the Muslim world. The Russian population is declining rapidly, being undermined by 70 years of Communist experiment and the cold indifference of post-communist rulers. Annually, Russia is losing 900 thousand people who are being replaced by Muslims from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Islam is now the second-largest religion in Russia, where it may total up to 28 million adherents. Because of this, Russia was able to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 2003.

Russia's great qualitative population change represents both a departure from the past and a strengthening link with it. The synergies between the history of Russia's national policies of terrorism and the radical Islamic terrorism that it is spreading around the world are natural partners that may severely impact on America's own future.

By Matt Gurney,, September 23, 2009

Now Brzezinski has taken his anti-Israel stance to a new extreme. In a little-noticed interview this past weekend, he suggested, in effect, that the United States should go to war with Israel in order to protect Iran. Specifically, Brzezinski opined that America should prevent an Israeli air strike against Iranian nuclear facilities by any means necessary – up to and including engaging Israeli warplanes as they cross Iraqi airspace to reach their Iranian targets.

Tech-savvy Iranian youth take aim at Ahmadinejad
By Joshua Schneyer, Reuters, September 24, 2009

Ali Jahanshahi, a young, tech-savvy British-Iranian, quit his job selling computers to come to New York with the ambitious goal of ousting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

More than just protesting Ahmadinejad's presence at the U.N. General Assembly this week, Jahanshahi said he came to trade know-how with other young Iranians who are using Internet "hacktivism" to send messages, videos and information to opposition sympathizers in Iran.

Rare Earths are Vital, and China Owns Them All
By Myra P. Saefong, MarketWatch, September 24 2009

Rare earths may not be on most investors' radars, but they are certainly in almost any high-tech item they use -- and in the world of rare earths, China is king.

Ahmadinejad Wants the Bomb To Help Bring the Muslim Messiah
By Sammy Benoit, American Thinker, September 23 2009

Through the prism his faith, Ahmadinejad sees politics as the "continuation of war by other means."  Once, when asked by students to define "what's the most beautiful for a Muslim on earth," he answered very matter of fact: "To kill and be killed." 

Ahmadinejad believes that he has been chosen by Allah to hasten the return of this Muslim messiah. The way to achieve this goal for the Iranian president is the occurrence of a nuclear Holocaust. And this is why it is so vital for Ahmadinejad that Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.

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From Elsewhere

Excerpts of Sarah Palin’s Speech to Investors in Hong Kong
From The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2009

You can call me a common-sense conservative. My approach to the issues facing my country and the world, issues that we’ll discuss today, are rooted in this common-sense conservatism… Common sense conservatism deals with the reality of the world as it is. Complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful, we believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.

We don’t believe that human nature is perfectible; we’re suspicious of government efforts to fix problems because often what it’s trying to fix is human nature, and that is impossible. It is what it is. But that doesn’t mean that we’re resigned to, well, any negative destiny. Not at all. I believe in striving for the ideal, but in realistic confines of human nature…

The opposite of a common-sense conservative is a liberalism that holds that there is no human problem that government can’t fix if only the right people are put in charge. Unfortunately, history and common sense are not on its side. We don’t trust utopian promises; we deal with human nature as it is.

ACORN and the AGs
By Mark J. Fitzgibbons, American Thinker, September 23, 2009

ACORN being called a criminal enterprise.  Despite years of warning signs that ACORN was violating the law, many state attorneys general have not investigated the organization or brought enforcement actions. State attorneys general, besides being the chief enforcement officers for violations of state laws, claim unique law enforcement authority over nonprofits.

The reasons for inaction by state attorneys general may explain why ACORN is such a problem. ACORN has developed close ties, to put it mildly, with many state attorneys general as well as others deep in the Democrat establishment. The relationship between ACORN and Democrats may be described as symbiotic.

Beware the Stalin in progressive Hearts
By Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner, September 24, 2009

If nothing else, the Obama eruption in American politics is steadily revealing the stark reality behind the progressive movement - the totalitarian temptation is always there and, for more than a few, possessing the official power to compel sooner or later becomes irresistible.

Mandatory Insurance Is Unconstitutional
Why an individual mandate could be struck down by the courts.
By David B. Rivkin Jr. & Lee A. Casey, The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2009

Federal legislation requiring that every American have health insurance is part of all the major health-care reform plans now being considered in Washington. Such a mandate, however, would expand the federal government’s authority over individual Americans to an unprecedented degree. It is also profoundly unconstitutional.

Obama Snubs America's Exceptionalism
Nancy Thorner, American Thinker, September 18, 2009

President Obama's first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 23, can only be described as a renunication of American exceptionalism.  Obama essentially gave up his nation in favor of being leader of the world when he told world leaders:  "No world order that elevates one nation or groups of people over another will succeed." 

In Obama's eyes the U.S. is tarnished, stained, immoral, and unjust, with a flawed Constitution, and no better than any other nation.

Related: All About Obama

The Dog Ate Global Warming
Interpreting climate data can be hard enough. What if some key data have been fiddled?
By Patrick J. Michaels, National Review, September 23, 2009

If we are to believe Jones’s note to the younger Pielke, CRU adjusted the original data and then lost or destroyed them over twenty years ago. The letter to Warwick Hughes may have been an outright lie. After all, Peter Webster received some of the data this year. So the question remains: What was destroyed or lost, when was it destroyed or lost, and why?

All of this is much more than an academic spat. It now appears likely that the U.S. Senate will drop cap-and-trade climate legislation from its docket this fall — whereupon the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is going to step in and issue regulations on carbon-dioxide emissions. Unlike a law, which can’t be challenged on a scientific basis, a regulation can. If there are no data, there’s no science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the answer to the question posed above.

Why Medical Malpractice Is Off Limits
A few thousand trial lawyers have a lock on Democrats, who refuse to consider any legal reform.

Eliminating defensive medicine could save upwards of $200 billion in health-care costs annually, according to estimates by the American Medical Association and others. The cure is a reliable medical malpractice system that patients, doctors and the general public can trust.

But this is the one reform Washington will not seriously consider. That's because the trial lawyers, among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party, thrive on the unreliable justice system we have now. 

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