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True North Archives - October 16, 2007
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Featured Articles

The Gathering Storm
Tom Licata

In The Gathering Storm, Winston Churchill’s stated purpose was "to show how easily the tragedy of the Second World War could have been prevented." In Churchill’s time – as now - a storm was brewing but "people were viewing it and not doing anything." In Vermont, an economic and demographic storm is brewing and like Churchill’s time, Governor Douglas, Speaker Symington, Senator Shumlin and others in Montpelier are doing little but viewing this coming tsunami.

Memory Hole
by Martin Harris

Spencer died in the mid-60’s and his chair was subsequently occupied by such more recent names as Fabian and Ryan, but the notebook, together with the underlying idea that school building capacity was publicly-available information, survived into the mid-80’s. Exactly when it was tossed into the "memory hole" I don’t know. Don’t ask your typical recent high school grad about this phrase in George Orwell’s "1984", written just after WWII, but older and better-read folks will remember the novel in which he describes a future wherein government consigns to the "memory hole" any information from the past which might conflict with what it wants citizens of the present to know and believe. Here’s a line from Chapter 3: "This, thought Winston, was the most frightening aspect of the Party regime, that it could obliterate memory…" as more recent governments have, in fact done, in areas of both greater and lesser overall importance, such as the now-vanished school-building inventory binder of the Vermont Education Department. Now, the official party line is that no such notebook exists or ever existed, although, SED attorney Robert Reedy argued in a State House hearing on school construction costs about a score of years ago that the notebook didn’t exist any more because "the Legislature had denied the Department the funds to maintain it" (not a precise verbatim quote, but close).

New Tax Burden Study Ignores Property Tax
By Robert Skinner

Vermont's legislative Democrats have their spanking new tax study created  by Vermont's Joint Fiscal Office ( JFO),  and they are heartened that it shows Vermonters are not really that burdened with taxes. The problem is, as in another study done not long ago, is the fiscal analysts  failed to factor in the one tax that nobody can deny is  burdening  a majority of home owners - the property tax. How politically convenient, and folly,  to deny this great crushing tax from the study.

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Join Vermont’s Tax Revolt!!!

This is an open letter to all Vermont Lawmakers. 

Go to and you will receive a wake-up call.  Vermonters (you know, those folks who voted for you) are signing a petition listed on this website and many are leaving very unflattering and angry comments meant for you.  I would encourage you to pay close attention to what the people are saying.  Perhaps the majority of you simply just don't care, or maybe you just don't get it!!

Marge Day
St. Albans, Vermont


"I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." --Winston Churchill

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Grading Those Test Scores
By Hugh Kemper,, October 09, 2007

Apologists for the exorbitant spending on Vermont public education often point to its ‘excellent performance’. That’s simply not true. And the solution to Vermont’s average performance is not more resources. As a recent report detailed there are significant opportunities to streamline Vermont spending on public education without compromising performance. Improving performance requires a complete rethink of what and how we’re teaching and administration/teacher accountability for measurable results. Are we up to the challenge? We need to be. We owe it to our kids.

More Nuclear Power: A Delayed Inevitability
Caledonian Record Editorial,October 9, 2007

The accompanying dogma to nuclear power is its sister, i.e. that wind power will set us free and save the earth. That is the ultimate in wishful thinking and quite literally a tilting at windmills. National expansion of nuclear power is inevitable. There isn't enough wind in the country, even in Washington, D.C., to deliver us from the evils of fossil fuel or nuclear power. Expansion of nuclear power, though, can stop in their tracks fossil fuel power and the environmental damage it does. They know that in Japan, the only place that has experienced a nuclear holocaust, and in France and more than half of the rest of Europe. That reality is catching up with the religious fanaticism of extreme environmentalists in the United States.

Statement of GOP Chairman Rob Roper on Democrats’ Study of the State Tax Burden
By Rob Roper, October 11, 2007

The Legislature's new report on Vermont’s Tax Burden is revealing in ways that should end any attempts to raise taxes on Vermonters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Democrats will heed the warnings illustrated by their own report. That the JFO report does not take into account Vermont’s crushing property tax burden is just one more indication that the Democrats are so out of touch that they are unwilling to engage--or even acknowledge--Vermonter’s number one concern.

The report reveals that the "rich" (which Chart 3 in the JFO report would indicate as individuals earning $45,000 a year or more) in Vermont are already paying more than their fair share of the total tax burden. It would be unfair to increase taxes on a population that is already shouldering a significantly disproportionate amount of the highest per-capita tax burden in the country. It would also be unwise for the state to put even more of our revenue eggs into this one already overloaded basket.

If the tax capacity of Vermonters earning $45,000 or more is "tapped out," to use Sen. Peter Shumlin's term, the only viable target for tax increases would be Vermonters earning less than that. The Vermont Republican Party strongly opposes this option. Honest readers of the JFO report should conclude that "no new taxes" is not political rhetoric in Vermont, but an economic reality for working families in our state.

Related: Property Owners Have the Solution

Alternative to What?
From, October 08, 2007

Once again the states talking about spending a bunch of money on something few people want, is of limited benefit to anyone,  and we can hardly afford. This time its $17.5MM on new trains for the already heavily subsidized and under utilized Amtrak Vermonter route.  Ever wonder why they call trains alternative transportation? Its because trains are alternative to the way people want to travel. Kind of like alternative medicine being alternative to what works.

Oh But For The Land Of Oz
Caledonian Record Editorial, October 8, 2007

Declining enrollment, what does that mean? A basic understanding of the English language suggests that there are now fewer students in our schools today than there were three, five, eight, 10 years ago. And as we all know, as the number of students drops, basic math leads us to believe that the costs to run our schools has to decrease. We have fewer students, we need fewer classrooms, fewer teachers, fewer administrators, and fewer maintenance people and as a result, we have a much happier voting public because they can see their property taxes decrease as the student body decreases. ... As all property tax payers know, our education property tax has not reflected any of the decreases in the enrollment. What we have seen are dramatic increases in education taxes all over the state. Not 1 or 2 percent increases but 20, 30 and even 40 percent increases. How can that be?

Taxes and Tax Policy: Progressivity Isn't Everything
From, October 15, 2007

This means that in Vermont, we have a situation where we have a tremendous appetite for government spending, yet are insulating most taxpayers from most of the tax consequences of those decisions. Half of all government spending in Vermont is for K-12 education, which is essentially a program that benefits the middle class. If the beneficiaries of that spending have little stake in its cost, you have a prescription for an ineffective program and a democracy that won’t work well. ... The tax study never mentions the fact that Vermont’s overall tax burden is one of the highest in the nation, and someone must be paying those taxes. It loses sight of the forest for the trees.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Tehran's Price for 'Solitarity'
Mullahs Seek Useful Marxist Idiots
By Amir Taheri, New York Post, October 12, 2007

ANXIOUS to create what they call "a global progressive front," Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are sponsoring projects to underline "the ideological kinship of the left and revolutionary Islam." The theme - hammered in by Ahmadinejad during his recent visit to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia - inspired a four-day seminar organized by his supporters at Tehran University last week (partly financed by Chavez). The hope was that the conference would produce a synthesis of Marxist and Khomeinist ideologies and highlight what the Iranian leader has labeled "the divine aspect of revolutionary war."

The United States is Not Engaged in the War of Ideas
By Frank Salvato, The New Media Journal, October 12, 2007

"But the most startling revelation concerning our struggle against aggressive Islamofascism is that the United States is not engaged in the war of ideas. There hasn’t been one initiative or program developed to engage the ideological forces of radical Islam. Our enemy in the global war against radical Islam stands unopposed on the ideological battlefield."

Islam’s Quiet Revolution
By Samuel Gregg, D.Phil., The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, October 10, 2007

Leaving aside bin-Laden’s somewhat inadequate grasp of basic Western economic history, he’s probably aware -- and worried -- that several thousand miles to the south-west of his Afghan-Pakistani hideaway, small but important Muslim countries are gradually embracing features of those very same market-systems he despises. Over the past 15 years, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have made significant advances towards becoming open economies. Slowly, they are breaking away from almost total reliance upon oil-export revenues. Each country’s specific path differs, but there are important similarities. ... Economic liberalization is not a panacea for all the Muslim-Arab world’s problems. These go far beyond economic issues. But while economic liberty and free markets are not sufficient for societies to be free, they are essential.

Mission Accomplished
From Prospect Magazine, October 2007

The great question in deciding whether to keep fighting in Iraq is not about the morality and self-interest of supporting a struggling democracy that is also one of the most important countries in the world. The question is whether the war is winnable and whether we can help the winning of it. The answer is made much easier by the fact that three and a half years after the start of the insurgency, most of the big questions in Iraq have been resolved. Moreover, they have been resolved in ways that are mostly towards the positive end of the range of outcomes imagined at the start of the project. The country is whole. It has embraced the ballot box. It has created a fair and popular constitution. It has avoided all-out civil war. It has not been taken over by Iran. It has put an end to Kurdish and marsh Arab genocide, and anti-Shia apartheid. It has rejected mass revenge against the Sunnis. As shown in the great national votes of 2005 and the noisy celebrations of the Iraq football team's success in July, Iraq survived the Saddam Hussein era with a sense of national unity; even the Kurds—whose reluctant commitment to autonomy rather than full independence is in no danger of changing—celebrated. Iraq's condition has not caused a sectarian apocalypse across the region. The country has ceased to be a threat to the world or its region. The only neighbours threatened by its status today are the leaders in Damascus, Riyadh and Tehran.

Iran Plans to Checkmate America
By Mark S. Hanna, The American Thinker, October 07, 2007

A Only in this game, the stakes are much higher and due to the enormous prize, the gamesman is willing to sacrifice much more than a pawn. The trophy? Regional hegemony and a giant step towards the revolutionary raison d’etre of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

The Constitution, having regard to the Islamic contents of the Iranian Revolution, which was a movement for the victory of all the oppressed over the arrogant, provides a basis for the continuation of that revolution both inside and outside the country. It particularly tries to do this in developing international relations with other Islamic movements and peoples, so as to prepare the way towards a united single world community. (The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran)

For Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, A-Jad for short (no offense to the Yankee prodigy), his "Game 24" has arrived and instead of a chess title, victory means Iran’s irreversible progress as Allah’s divinely ordained tool (a good word here) toward the establishment of the "united single world community" or the Islamic Caliphate - a global Islamic government that would look, taste, feel and breath like the current Islamic Republic of Iran.

Marines to redeploy from Iraq to Afghanistan?
By Rick Moran, The American Thinker, October 11, 2007

Two significant points to make. First, the military obviously feels that the progress made in Anbar is not temporary and will allow a slightly faster drawdown of US troops from the province as was previously suggested. Secondly, if I were a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, I might want to look into purchasing a good life insurnance policy. The Taliban is currently engaged in a bitter battle with the Pakistani military in the Waziristans in anticipation of a general Taliban offensive western intelligence believes will begin at the end of this month, after Ramadan is over. An addition of several thousand battle hardened Marines will be most welcome, I'm sure.

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From Elsewhere

Personal Sovereignty
Part 7 of 'The Crisis of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew America

Of all the articles in the "Crisis of the Republic" series, this one is the most important. It deals with the relationship between the sovereignty and democratic self-government of our nation as a whole and the personal sovereignty and self-control of individual citizens. The failure to think through and act upon the consequences of this relationship is the main reason for the Democratic Party's near total abandonment of America's principles, as well as the inadequacy and failure of the current leadership of the Republican Party. It is the main reason the American people are so close to losing their capacity for self-government — and their constitutional position of sovereignty over their government at all levels. We are being thrust aside by forces that take advantage of our moral vulnerability to turn us from free people into masses dominated and virtually enslaved by the manipulation of our selfish passions.

Entrepreneurship Preserves Life as We Know It
By Ericka Andersen, Human Events

"An entrepreneur is the creative force in economics, the person who comes and looks at a desert or a jungle or a wilderness and sees a garden, sees an opportunity to create new value," Gilder said in the film. The film elevates capitalism through entrepreneurship as analogous to a divine endeavor and as the means by which all of the benefits of freedom have come to be. Executive Producer Jay Richards said in the film, "You can really think of the first farmers as the first entrepreneurs. Farms would make cities possible and those cities would make civilizations possible and those civilizations would make things like world wide commerce and technology and science and music and philosophy possible."

Marxist Revolution of the West
By Reginald Firehammer, The Automist

A little more than 230 years ago, the most important, significant, and profound revolution in the history of the world occurred, a revolution based on a single concept, individual liberty. The result of that revolution was the creation of the most prosperous, free, and cultured country the world has ever known. That revolution was the American revolution.

About 70 years ago, seven men planned another revolution, completely unlike the American revolution. It would not be "political" and would not be carried out by means of violence or war as the American and all other political revolutions have been, because the ambitions of those men were much higher than the mere replacing of one political system with another. They were aiming at nothing short of a world-wide revolution that would entirely change the minds of men, replacing all of Western Civilization with a new "cultural paradigm" that would usher in a word-wide totalitarian utopian state.

House Conservatives Introduce Tax Reform Bill
By Steve Browne,Human Events, October 11, 2007

House conservatives Wednesday proposed a new tax overhaul plan that would replace the Alternative Minimum Tax and allow taxpayers to choose to file under either the existing tax code or a simplified tax schedule.

Guns And Butter: A Primer
From Investor's Business Daily, October 09, 2007

Defense spending constituted only $528 billion of that budget in fiscal 2006 — or about 4% of gross domestic product. In 1953, during the Korean War, it hit a postwar high of 14.2% of GDP. In 1968, in the middle of Vietnam, it reached 9.5%. And in 1986, at the height of the Reagan buildup that doomed the evil empire, it was 6.8%. We're not spending too much on the military. We're spending too little to meet both the needs of the War on Terror and the rising threat of a nuclear Iran, not to mention dealing with the frantic pace at which both Russia and China are arming.

Another U.N. Power Grab
By William P. Clark & Edwin Meese, American Conservative Union, October 8, 2007

It is an impressive testament to the abiding affection and political influence of former President Ronald Reagan that the fate of a controversial treaty now before the U.S. Senate may ultimately turn on a single question: What would Reagan do? As we had the privilege of working closely with President Reagan in connection with the foreign policy, national security and domestic implications of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty or LOST), there is no question about how our 40th president felt about this accord. He so strongly opposed it that he formally refused to sign the treaty. He even sent Donald Rumsfeld as a personal emissary to our key allies around the world

Poverty Facts
by Lisa Fabrizio, American Conservative Union

The point being, that the depth of poverty that exists in too much of the world is basically nonexistent here. But although our poor are better off than those in most of the world--so much so that millions of impoverished foreigners are willing to risk their lives and break our laws to join them--some Americans do live in unfortunate, if not dire, circumstances. Of course, the major difference is that the poor in this country have the opportunity to improve their lot. All Americans used to know the way to prosperity for themselves and their families. It was, and is pretty basic: a two-parent family working as diligently as possible. In his piece, Rector concludes: " In good economic times or bad, the typical poor family with children is supported by only 800 hours of work during a year: That amounts to 16 hours of work per week. If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per year—the equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week through the year—nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty."

Universal Care's Filthy Failure
From Investor's Business Daily, October 12, 2007

Despite the growing evidence that socialist medicine is a disaster, its supporters blindly continue to push for a government system in the U.S. They need some down time in a hospital bed in south-central England.

When Amateurs Make Foreign Policy
From Investor's Business Daily, October 12, 2007

Justice: Of course, it's right to recognize the wrong that the former Ottoman Empire did to the millions of Armenians it slaughtered and deported from 1915 and 1922. That said, does Congress have to recognize it now? The answer is no....

Rush Limbaugh, Vindicated
By L. Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center, October 9, 2007

The ruckus over the Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" statement is dying down. It ought not to. There is a huge story here. ... How disingenuous was this leftist attack on Limbaugh? Let us count the ways...

Related: Bid on the Original Harry Reid/Rush Limbaugh Smear Letter

As winning bidder, you will receive the original and infamous "Harry Reid Smear" letter, signed by 41 Democat senators. 100% of the final sale price will support Marine Corps -- Law Enforcement Foundation.

Related: Hillary Talks About 'It'
By Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2007

So which is it? This summer Sen. Clinton said she was a founder of Media Matters, and this week she said she was a centrist. That doesn't compute. Perhaps in a year we'll know which side she's on.

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