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True North Archives - October 28, 2008
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Featured Articles

Taxation and Civilization
By Robert Maynard

The problem with all this is that the key factor from the standpoint of overall economic prosperity is not who gets taxed, but the overall tax burden. In a 1976 article for the Freeman entitled "The Power to Tax is the Power to Destroy", Dr. Clarence Carson quotes from an opinion put forward by Chief Justice John Marshall in the 1819 case McCulloch v. Maryland. "That the power to tax involves the power to destroy; that the power to destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create …".

Welch’s Spreading the Wealth
By Mark Shepard

Like many Vermonters I was disappointed in Rep. Peter Welch’s vote for taxpayers to bailout Wall Street investors as well as provide cover for the politicians who forced unsound lending rules on lending institutions and then refused to correct these problems after being warned time and again. To make matters worse the bill does absolutely nothing to fix the flaws that brought about the lending crisis.

The Grey Lady’s Fall from Grace
By Martin Harris

Large-scale print journalism is a tough business these days; even the world’s leading financial daily, The Wall Street Journal, has suffered minor percentage declines in readership, as former readers choose to go on line for their information needs. But no major paper still publishing has suffered the decline in fortune and stature experienced by the Grey Lady of 43rd Street. A July 08 Real Clear Politics web article by Thomas Lifson, written just before any of the present economic difficulties surfaced, describes a 75% decline in earnings per share from the previous quarter, traceable, he argues, to decreasing ad revenues (10%). Another, more persuasive, web article on the Political Calculations blog-spot points to a 1/3 decline in readership within the NYC market alone, from 1993 through 2007, and goes on to argue that the paper’s "…long-standing leftist tilt…effectively sabotages the newspaper’s ability to successfully reach…audience." I’d add the obvious: that it has driven former readers away.

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Dear Editor:

When we plant our gardens in the spring, putting tiny seeds into the soil, our minds go forward to seeing the first glimpse of the tiny plants poking through the soil, reaching for the light of life. What an exciting time.

Where has our conscience gone? Why have we grown so icy cold? Why have we taken it upon ourselves to murder the unborn? They are so tiny, so innocent, so defenseless! They did not ask to be conceived, yet are punished for the actions of what we call ourselves—RESPONSIBLE ADULTS!!

Have we forgotten that we are each created by God in His likeness and image? This means we each are given a soul. Animals do not have souls, yet they are protected by law to avoid extinction. This little person growing within needs our protection also. Like the tiny plant in the soil, the womb is the tiny baby's place to safely grow. It is a separate human being. Where is that baby's protection by law? Their little hearts beat, they suck their thumbs, wiggle their little hands and feet. A rock can't do that, so this tiny baby must have life within the womb—how else would it wiggle its toes? Yet, our hardened hearts tell them "no, we will destroy you."

Don't we teach our children that it is wrong to bully another child? What on earth gives us the right to do what we teach children not to do? What example are we setting?

Please remember that we will all be judged one day. Yes—a judgment day by our creator. Has that so conveniently slipped our minds?

For LIFE itself,

Louise Gagne, Graniteville


"Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourage affordable homeownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by their regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong."  --U.S. Representative Artur Davis of Alabama

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The Truth Of The Matter
Caledonia Record Editorial October, 20, 2008

Sanders ran into an unexpected point of view during his address to the students. Harold Kim, an L.I. student from Asia, stood up and told Sanders that where he comes from, students attend two schools each day, study long into the night and on the weekend and work harder than American students. "Students in Asia aren't smarter than us. They are working harder. You need to work hard."

Kim's observation is one that we've never heard discussed by Sen, Sanders. We doubt he has ever, in his political career, suggested Americans need to work harder to be successful. It's refreshing to hear someone who has experienced the reality of education in Asia and education in the United States identify a simple solution to the problem of under performing students. Instead of repeating the mantra that education can only be improved with more tax dollars, Kim let Sanders and his fellow students know hard work counts.

Vt. Economist: Recession Will Get Worse
WCAX-TV - October 22, 2008

Vermont's unemployment rate is the highest it has been in 15 years. And an economist at the University of Vermont predicts things are only going to get worse.

Shumlin Hints His Political Days are All But Numbered
By Susan Smallheer, Rutland Herald, October 23, 2008

Shumlin, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2002, has long been mentioned as a candidate for statewide office, and he said Wednesday he has no intention of becoming a lifetime member of the Vermont Senate. He said his four years away from Montpelier after he lost the 2002 lieutenant governor's job in a three-way race taught him a valuable lesson.

"The experience being away from Montpelier was a good one, you take the minutia of the job less seriously," Shumlin said. "I won't stay in the Senate for much longer," he said, declining to elaborate.

Electric Rates Going Up
WCAX-TV - October 24, 2008
After several months of budget adjustments and analysis Burlington Electric says it has no other choice but to ask for a rate increase for its customers. On Monday the company will ask the Burlington finance board to approve an increase up to 5.9 percent.

Is Candlemaking A Green Job?
From, October 24, 2008

Yes, of course.  Close down Yankee and the green jobs will bloom like wildflowers in Spring.  But, one wonders, if those jobs are out there, waiting to blossom, what's holding them back?  Is it unfair competition from nuclear power?  This seems like a stretch.  If green power is so self-evidently superior, then a little competition from another energy source should not stunt its growth and poison its roots.  That argument recalls this famous essay from the classics of economics.

Vt's AOT Predicts 20-Year Shortfall in Billions
By Gordon Dritschilo, Rutland Herald, October 24, 2008

The Vermont Agency of Transportation projects a 20-year revenue shortfall of $4 billion to $8 billion, depending on inflation. To close that gap and take in enough to sustain current performance levels, the agency's proposed new long-range transportation business plan suggests measures such as increasing the gas tax to keep pace with inflation and instituting road tolls.

Rep. Welch's Vote for Bush Bailout Was Wrong!
From Mark Shepard for Congress, October 27, 2008

Two-term Vermont State Senator Mark Shepard from Bennington who ran for Congress in 2006 has put his name forward as a write-in option for Congress this year.  Shepard, 48, was raised on a Hartland Strawberry farm.  Since leaving elected politics, Shepard has been focusing his energies on his engineering business and had no intention of running for Congress this year.  However, after Representative Peter Welch, who is essentially running unopposed, decided to support President Bush's federal bailout, Shepard expressed the need for Vermonters to have another option.  In a recent letter to the editor, Shepard advocated that "even if Rep. Welch was the only name on the ballet, Vermonters should not bail him out with a vote on Nov. 4."

Peter Welch's vote for the $850 billion bailout was wrong for a number of reasons:

   1. It is wrong to continually expect taxpayers to bailout failures.  This is becoming a bad habit in America and where does it stop?

   2. On his first bailout bill Rep. Welch voted no and made a good case for why taxpayers should not be saddled with a $700 billion bailout.   Then when the amount was increased to $850 billion he switched his vote and voted for the increased bailout.  He followed that vote up by sending out an intellectually insulting email letter outlining his rationale for now supporting the even larger bailout.  He presented no good case for voting for the second bailout bill, most especially after he had voted against the smaller bailout bill.  At best it was a vote out of fear - "do something even if it's wrong."  There were better ideas, and as a member of the party in control of Congress he should be in a position to work with his majority for real solutions.

  3. Perhaps most disturbing is such a vote switch likely would not have happened if he had a real contest for reelection.  It seems clear that he followed his Washington party's leadership instead of the voice of his constituents.  Having no viable opponent, Rep. Welch knew he could get away with this vote against taxpayers.  Vermonters were taken granted and that is wrong.

Shepard said, "My opposition to throwing taxpayer money at problems rather than working toward real solutions and my desire that Vermonters have a means of expressing their disappointment or even outrage at this action by Representative Welch has compelled me to put my name forward."

Shepard said, "Clearly time is short and many Vermonters have already voted, but at a minimum I want to give Vermonters a means to give Representative Welch a wakeup call and let him know we expect more from our only member to Congress.  Just write-in Mark Shepard, Bennington and send Peter Welch a clear message that we do not appreciate him redistributing our wages to those who failed to perform their duties on Wall Street and Washington."

While there are other options on the ballot, none are known well throughout the state and none are running a serious campaign, hence most Vermonters will not consider voting for any of these.  Shepard hopes that his having served in the Vermont Senate and his run for Congress in 2006 will help provide a viable place for Vermonters to send a clear message to Peter Welch, President Bush and Washington DC that we taxpayers cannot continually bailout irresponsibility.  Not only is it wrong, it is not sustainable and weakens our nation.

Many Vermonters are showing support for Shepard by putting up their 2006 campaign signs and spreading the word that there is an option to Welch.  Vermonters can learn more about Mark Shepard at his 2006 website,

Please feel free to contact Mark Shepard at 249-7886 or by email at  You may also contact Bill Stafford of Colchester, who managed Shepard's campaign in 2006 at 862-0858 or

(Note: Since this run was not in Senator Shepard's plans, his immediate work situation may not permit him to be as readily available as he would like. He may be working at a customer site. Senator Shepard apologizes for this inconvenience and asks that you leave a message and he will do his best to get back to all press inquiries.)

Related: Former Senator Shepard's Letter to the Editor: Welch's spreading the wealth

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

America At The Tipping Point In 2008
By Christopher G. Adamo, GOPUSA, October 23, 2008

Barack Obama is perhaps the farthest left of a leftist political party that has minimized every symbol of U.S. achievement against the Islamists (such as the triumphal Iraqi elections or President Bush's spectacular landing on the Aircraft Carrier Abraham Lincoln), while magnifying to obscene levels every misstep throughout the process (Abu Ghraib and the phony episodes of flushed Korans immediately come to mind).

In these dangerous times, "ignorance" might only be "bliss" very briefly. America cannot bow out of the Terror War, no matter how "eloquently" a President Obama may think he can do so. America cannot befriend its mortal enemies. It will either defeat them or be ever after subject to their attacks, and ultimately, to their twisted ideology.

The cauldron of Islamic militancy seemed dormant until President Jimmy Carter's nihilistic stupidity breathed life into it during the 1970s. Now Iran is the center of Islamic terrorism and insurgency. Soon, the world may be facing the terrible presence of a nuclear Iran.

Democrat vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden predicted a horrendous international "test" for Obama, should he be elected. He has since been effectively muzzled by the Obama camp, since such alarming truths pose great risks to the Democrat ticket. But Biden was right, more than he knows.

Counting Islamists
By Daniel Pipes, American Conservative Union, October 22, 2008

These ambiguous and contradictory percentages lead to no clear, specific count of Islamists. Out of a quantitative mish-mash, I suggested just three days after 9/11 that some 10-15 percent of Muslims are determined Islamists. Subsequent evidence generally confirmed that estimate and suggested, if anything, that the actual numbers might be higher.

Negatively, 10-15 percent suggests that Islamists number about 150 million out of a billion plus Muslims – more than all the fascists and communists who ever lived. Positively, it implies that most Muslims can be swayed against Islamist totalitarianism.

A Pakistani Awakening?
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, October 23, 2008

A.J. Strata of the Stratosphere has been reporting on this story for months. Evidently, some of the Tribes in Pakistan started their own Iraqi-style "Awakening" by going after al-Qaeda in the NWFP. Now the government appears ready to assist them by supplying them with arms:

The OPEC War against American Energy Independence (Part Two)
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters

What adds to the inquiry into whether OPEC contributed to our economic destabilization are the many indicators that strategic political motives have appeared to be behind the pricing maneuvers. Over a period of half a decade, many voices heard on the region’s airwaves have intimated that the US economy will be made to pay for what America’s leadership is doing. Commentators on several outlets funded by oil companies, including on al Jazeera, underlined that as long as average citizens in the United States (and eventually in the West) don’t feel financial pain, the war on terror and spreading of Democracy won’t be stopped.

Concern over arrest of Iranian American student in Tehran
By Borzou Daragahi and Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2008

Human rights advocates say Esha Momeni, a Cal State Northridge student, was in Iran researching her master's thesis. She was stopped Oct. 15, allegedly for a traffic violation, and then detained. ...

Momeni, 28, was reportedly being held in the notorious Section 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison, though officials have not announced any charges. Amnesty International and others worry that she might be subjected to torture.

Congratulations General Odierno?
By Donald Devine, American Conservative Union, October 22, 2008

While Gen. David Petraeus deserves full credit for stabilizing the military situation in Iraq and his promotion to regional commander for doing so, his deputy Gen. Odierno has been in charge of daily battlefield operations and has borne the burden of the fight, to which Petraeus himself is witness. Bringing the Iraq war to a successful conclusion could not be in better hands than the man who has just been promoted as its new commander.

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From Elsewhere

Spending Our Way Into Oblivion
By Harris R. Sherline GOPUSA October 20, 2008

America's politicians are rapidly spending our way into oblivion. Almost a trillion dollars for the Bailout package, including 25 billion for the auto industry, 150 billion for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), an 85 billion loan to insurance giant, A.I.G., along with millions of dollars of "pork" for Hollywood producers, stockcar race track owners, Caribbean rum producers, Alaskan fishermen, and who knows what else. Remember, this bill was about 450 pages of text, and since it was handed to Congress only about one day before it was approved, it's obvious that no one read it or really knew what was buried in it.

In addition, two bills sponsored by Barack Obama are currently working their way through Congress: the Jubilee Act (S. 2166) would cancel as much as another $75 billion worth of Third World Debt and the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433), at an estimated cost of $845 billion.

All this adds up to about two trillion dollars, enough to pay Social Security benefits to the entire senior population for more than four-and-a-half years. We are told the money comes from borrowing, which amounts to putting more currency into circulation.

No Oil For America
By Alan Caruba, American Conservative Union, October 22, 2008

So Democrats decided to allow the quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire? That’s not the same as lifting the ban. Moreover, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) is on record saying that, if the Democrats retain control of Congress, restoring the ban "will be a top priority for discussion next year."

Obama's Abortion Extremism
By Robert George, Public Discourse, October 14, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

Obama Bombshell Redistribution of Wealth Audio Uncovered

Sen. Barack Obama's views on spreading the wealth - in his own words.

Reagan Right on Government
By Scott Rasmussen, American Conservative Union, October 22, 2008

In his first inaugural address, President Ronald Reagan delivered a line succinctly capturing the sentiment that elected him: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." A generation later, that attitude still resonates with a solid majority of Americans. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of voters agree with Reagan, and just 28% disagree.

Media Bias Playing an Unnecessarily Large Role Against GOP
By Kristen Wall, The Daily Cardinal, October 23, 2008

It has long been claimed that the media has a liberal bias, but the majority of the media has never been so in the tank for any democrat as they are for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D.-Ill. On Oct. 21, the Kansas City Star editorial page came out with a column calling U.S. Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin racist for calling Obama a socialist. Apparently, "J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality," at least according to Lewis Duguid, a columnist for the Kansas City Star. This is an absurd statement, even by the liberal media’s standards.

Wall Street Protectionism
By Timothy Carney, American Conservative Union, October 22, 2008

Who knew Wall Street shared the economic views of steel workers, domestic manufacturers, and buggy-whip makers when the automobile was invented? Just like those industries threatened by market realities and a changing economic landscape, Wall Street is calling on Congress to intervene in order to preserve the status quo. I guess we only call it protectionism when it’s men in hardhats who are at risk of losing jobs. When it’s men in pinstriped suits worried that their industry might dry up, we call it "stabilization."

The Election Choice: Taxes
The difference between candidates is the widest it's been in over two decades
From The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2008

When it comes to taxes, the difference between Barack Obama and John McCain is arguably as wide as it's been in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale battled in 1984. Sen. Obama is proposing to raise taxes more than any recent candidate, while Sen. McCain wants to cut them substantially.

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card, The Rhinoceros Times

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth.  That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper. But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans.  You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

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