North Archives - November 09, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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Shumlin Have Enough Political Options to Solve Vermont's Budget Problem?
leaves increasing taxes. Mr. Shumlin in his acceptance speech used
the phrase "increase revenue" as the preferred solution. His campaign
ads, which focused on "taxing the richest 1400 Vermonters," may limit his
options in that regard. The Left generally refuses to recognize that
increasing tax rates may yield less revenue, not more. Vermont already
depends to an extraordinary degree on tax receipts from fewer than 20,000
persons. Some 350,000 income t ax returns were filed two years ago,
50,000 from out of state. The total tax on in-state returns was $550
Million; tax from 50,000 out of state tax returns was $43 Million after
tax credits, adjustments, and exemptions. Just 16,000 returns --
5.3% of the total -- reporting more than $124,000 of income paid $260 Million,
which is 51% of the total. Clearly, the economic behavior of a very
small number of people very disproportionately affects State revenues.
Education State, or The Road Not Taken
times, the imaginings for Vermont-as-education-state went even further,
with some of us arguing in the conferences for both a focus on education
(private and public) and a focus on the cleanest industry of all (research
and development). In a symbiotic/catalytic relationship, each would support
and improve the other, with well-educated graduates staffing the labs and
attracting new investments in faculties and facilities, and customers for
both. Vermont would have become a magnet state, not for free public services,
but for highly competitive schools and labs. The mix would have generated
innovation, jobs, income, investment, and revenues for the public sector
in taxes and for the private sector in profits. The road was never taken.
Even as the impossible (?) dream faded, we who wondered where it went,
in the late ‘70’s, never could figure out why it never happened. The question
isn’t even being asked any more.
the nearest thing to an education strategy has been a captive-insurance-company
strategy. ‘Nuf said.
US plan for limiting current account surpluses and deficits to 4 per cent
of gross domestic product harked back "to the days of planned economies".
Cui Tiankai, a deputy foreign minister and one of China’s lead negotiators
at the G20
Weekly News Round-Up
Analysis: Why No Shellacking in Vermont?
Tom Evslin, Vermont Tiger, November 7 2010
the country there were four stand-out anomaly states, which seemed oblivious
to the national trend: Vermont, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts (despite
being the place where Republican Scott Brown kicked off this election cycle
by replacing Ted Kennedy). I'm not counting states where Republicans simply
lost by running impossible candidates. One possible explanation for these
anomalies is self-selection. People move to New Hampshire because it has
no income tax; it's not surprising that they then react to a fiscal crisis
by quickly purging spenders even though employment is relatively robust
in their state. People (like me) move to Vermont or California or Massachusetts
despite the high taxes. Some move here and there because of rich benefit
programs. In Vermont more people seem to dream of starting a non-profit
than getting rich; we have lots of non-profits. Non-profits aren't discouraged
federal stimulus money that helped keep Vermont's generosity going is disappearing;
with Washington in more frugal hands; it's not going to be replenished.
People in other states which are swallowing bitter medicine now will not
want to see their federal taxes or the federal debt increase to support
our spending. Vermont must change to prosper.
Yankee Sale Faces Hurdles
Dave Gram, The Burlington Free Press, November 6 2010
Corp. has less than 17 months to find a buyer for the troubled
Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, close on a sale and get approval for the
plant's new owner from federal and state regulators.
Orleans-based Entergy announced this week what many had expected: It wants
to sell its small New England nuclear plant that has become a giant headache.
plant needs a license extension to operate past 2012, but a poisoned political
environment for Entergy makes state approval look unlikely. That would
leave Entergy faced with the prospect of covering the cost of mothballing
the plant instead of making money from the energy it generates.
Yankee Up for Sale - Shumlin won't change his position regardless of ownership.
Scott Now Top Republican in VT
WPTZ, November 5 2010
Talks With NewsChannel 5
Seeks 8.3% Rate Increase
WCAX-TV, November 4, 2010
customers may be paying higher bills soon.
state's largest electric utility wants regulators to OK an 8.3 percent
rate increase. If approved, it would take effect January 1st. Customers
who use 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would see the bills
rise from 78 to 84 dollars a month. Company officials say rising power
costs and system improvements make the rate hike necessary.
is a much longer term picture as far as reliability improvements. Those
are projects that are planned over a period of years, and just tend to
be coming on at the same time. Part of the issue is that the systems were
all built around the same time so now a lot of projects are coming due,
they are being rebuilt, and the timing is just coincidental," said CVPS
spokesman, Steve Costello.
will still pay the least for power in New England.
Guard Members Expected Back by Christmas
Matt Sutkoski, The Burlington Free Press, November 5 2010
Vermont National Guard is preparing for the return of nearly 1,500 deployed
soldiers, most of whom are expected to be home by Christmas.
soldiers are expected to start leaving Afghanistan in small groups this
month, go to a base in Indiana for demobilization and then come home. The
process should last well into December, and most soldiers are expected
to be home for the holidays,
Vermont Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Lloyd Goodrow said.
Douglas to teach at Middlebury College
James Dwinell, Vermont Business Magazine, November 4 2010
his weekly press conference this afternoon, Governor Douglas was asked
what he would do when his term was up. He said he had options but had not
made any decisions and was still looking.
after the press conference, Douglas was answering questions from a group
of reporters and said, "Oh, by the way, I have agreed to teach a Vermont
government and politics course during the January intensive at Middlebury
College. Governor Kunin did the same and I have been reviewing what she
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Weekly: Al Qaeda Unlucky Again in Cargo Bombing Attempt
By Scott Stewart, Strategic
Forecasters, November 2 2010
In the end, this AQAP attack
failed to achieve its immediate objective of destroying aircraft. The planners
of the attack probably hoped that the parcels would be shipped on passenger
aircraft, and it appears that they were aboard passenger aircraft for at
least some of their journey. However, like the failed assassination of
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and the Christmas Day attack, this attempt was
successful only in its secondary objective, which was to generate global
media coverage and sow fear in the West. Given the low cost and low risk
associated with such an attack, this is quite an accomplishment — although
the failed attack will certainly cause the U.S. government to turn up the
heat on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to do something about AQAP.
Saleh has long played a delicate balancing act of using the jihadists as
allies against his enemies in the country’s north and south and has resisted
launching an all-out offensive against AQAP. The U.S. government may also
expand its unilateral operations against the group.
As long as AQAP’s operational
leaders and its bombmakers — like Ibrahim Hassan Tali al Asiri, brother
of the suicide bomber in the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef attack — remain
free, they will continue trying to exploit security vulnerabilities and
attack U.S. and Saudi targets. So far, the group has come close to pulling
off several spectacular attacks but has suffered unlucky breaks that have
caused each attack to fail. However, to paraphrase an old Irish Republican
Army taunt, they only have to get lucky once.
Al-Qaeda to Reassert Itself?
Does It Make the Grade?
By James Carafano, Ph.D.,
Family Security Matters, October 26 2010
the White House rolled into the 2010 mid-term elections, it was probably
grateful that foreign policy made so few headlines, thereby masking how
ineffective the Obama Doctrine has been in dealing with America’s adversaries.
Then late last week news broke of the most recent al-Qaeda plot to attack
America. According to press
reports, "The two package bombs intercepted by authorities in Britain
and Dubai last week appear to have been built to detonate ‘in flight’ and
to bring down the planes carrying them, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism
adviser said Sunday." The plot was successfully foiled—the 33rd thwarted
terrorist attack aimed at the U.S. since 9/11.
aborted attack did little to move the debate over national security
front and center in the U.S. elections. The President also missed another
"teachable" moment, as this attack provides a clear reminder that al-Qaeda
is still out there—and it is dangerous. Every attempted strike should be
a firm reminder of the importance of fighting and winning in Afghanistan.
The brutal truth is that the shortest route to the next 9/11 is for the
United States to cut and run in Afghanistan. No matter how the critics
try to justify running away before the job is done, the reality is that
the wilds of Afghanistan and Pakistan are al-Qaeda central. Unless they
are rooted out, we would be handing al-Qaeda not only a propaganda victory
of immeasurable value, but allowing them to reestablish a sanctuary from
which they could strike at the West with virtual immunity.
for a Tea Party at Turtle Bay
By Claudia Rosett, Pajamas
Media, November 2 2010
Foreign policy was a side
issue in Tuesday’s election. But with crises in the making, from Venezuela
to Iran, and points between and beyond, the wider world will be muscling
its way into the spotlight soon enough. Let’s hope the new Congress, whatever
its configuration, will take a serious interest in at least trying to resume
some oversight of how American tax dollars get spent at that international
colosseum known as the United Nations. The issue is not solely the billions
of dollars Washington pours annually into the UN — providing roughly one-quarter
of a system-wide UN budget that now comes to well over $20 billion. The
problem is also that along with the usual waste and fraud, the UN spends
some of those American billions on activities hostile to U.S. values and
Just this past week, as I
noted in a post last weekend on the UN’s
Tiananmen Travesty, the Chinese head of the UN’s Department
of Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, presented an award to a Chinese
former defense minister, Chi Haotian, who was operational commander of
the troops who crushed the 1989 Tiananmen democratic uprising. Sha — UN
credentials and all — delivered this award on behalf of the World Harmony
Foundation, an outfit intriguingly listed by the UN itself in its accredited
NGO database as having no
available address or home country. Presumably that’s just
UN sloppiness, given that the World Harmony Foundation on its own web site
lists addresses in both Manhattan and Zhejiang, China.
World with Victor Davis Hanson: Chapter 5 of 5
By A. Millar, National Review
Online, October 15 2010
Victor Davis Hanson, the
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses,
with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the Iran dilemma and the prospect
of American decline.
Odyssey of Islamism in America Germany’s Freiheit Party Joins the Fray
By Daniel Pipes, Family
Security Matters, November 3 2010
A new German political party,
Die Freiheit (The Freedom), had its inaugural
meeting on October 28 in Berlin. I was in town, so its leadership
me to be the only non-member of the nascent party to witness and report
on its founding constituent assembly.
As a reminder of how freedoms
have eroded in Europe in this age of Islamist terror, a political party
that resists Islamization and supports Israel cannot come into existence
in broad daylight. So, like the other 50-plus attendees, I learned of the
event’s time and location only shortly before it took place. For good measure,
the organizers operated undercover; the hotel management
only knew of a board election for an innocuously named company. Even now,
for security reasons, I cannot mention the hotel’s name.
Iranian Satellite in Latin America
By Jaime Daremblum,The Hudson
Institute, November 1 2010
If you're looking for evidence
that a nuclear Iran would be very difficult (if not impossible) to "contain,"
visit Buenos Aires. Between 1992 and 1994, the Iranian-backed terror group
Hezbollah launched not one but two murderous attacks in the Argentine capital,
bombing both the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center. It is widely
believed that Tehran was involved in plotting the deadly explosions. If
a non-nuclear Iranian government felt bold enough to mastermind such horrendous
attacks in a faraway, seemingly random country, just imagine how aggressive
a nuclear-armed Iran might be.
# # #
for Austerity: The New Scarlet Letter
Jordan Ballor, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, November 3
fiscal realities of the global economic downturn are forcing many European
nations to make hard choices about what governments can and cannot do.
These choices are on one level merely pragmatic: given particular levels
of tax income, there are limits to what the government can actually fund.
But on a deeper level these pragmatic decisions reflect a more thoroughgoing
view of the role of government in human social life. It is this deeper
conversation that holds the hope for a more thoroughgoing and comprehensive
reform of government, and it remains to be seen whether and how America
might learn from some of the difficult decisions being made in Europe.
Great Britain, for instance, Prime Minister David Cameron has instituted
a Comprehensive Spending Review that involves substantive budget cuts.
These austerity measures are, in the words of George Osborne, the Chancellor
of the Exchequer, intended to "confront the bills from a decade of debt."
While in some cases these "cuts" amount to paring the growth of budgets
rather than net reduction in spending, the announcement of budgets that
estimate would result in the loss of half a million government jobs by
2014-15 is a remarkable act of political courage, especially in a climate
of relatively high unemployment. Even more noteworthy is that Cameron
the case for austerity measures for the broader EU coalition.
what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom.
Jim DeMint, The Wall Street Journal, November 3 2010
to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan
opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because
you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going
to be spared from fiscal disaster.
of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives
to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment
is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your
limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist
Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: "As soon as they
get here, we need to co-opt them."
Left Is In Disarray After Tuesday’s Elections
Adam Bitely, Net Right Daily, November 4 2010
progressive left is quietly going nuts over Obama’s staff inside of the
White House. According
to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many on the left feel
that Obama and his team are more interested in themselves than in the party.
Obama was not an asset on the campaign trail this year, and it is still
uncertain if he will be in 2012.
is likely that Rahm Emanuel won’t be the only Obama staffer to leave, as
Barry’s inner circle is increasingly under attack, with the left incensed
at their belittlement at the hands of Robert Gibbs in the run up to the
election. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, is already slated to leave
the White House to set up the re-election campaign, and it is likely that
other confidante’s like Valerie Jarrett, and David Plouffe may find themselves
exploring other opportunities in the near future. The left is in a tizzy
over their performance this year. And they are not looking up to these
the Next Two Years
elections will have long-lasting effects.
Gerard Alexander, National Review Online, November 3 2010
that the voting is over, political pundits are trying to predict what impact
the 2010 elections will have on the next two years: on taxes, health
care, judicial confirmations, and the presidential election. But Tuesday’s
results are also going to have several important effects in the years beyond
2012. Here are four.
the GOP is now in about the best imaginable position to gain seats in the
U.S. House of Representatives as a result of the 2010 census. House-district
lines will soon be drawn in about 17 states, almost evenly split between
states that will lose seats and states that will gain them due to population
shifts since 2000. Republicans now appear set to control the governor’s
mansion in 13 of them. The governorships of New York, Massachusetts, and
perhaps Illinois proved beyond the GOP’s grasp, but the redrawing of lines
will be heavily influenced by Republican chief executives in Ohio, Michigan,
New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and elsewhere. This matters especially
because several of the affected states have Democratic majorities in their
legislatures, including New Jersey and Nevada. There, GOP governors will
be weighing in for their party; in other states, Republicans will dominate
the process. While we’re at it, the same census results are going to shift
Electoral College votes to generally Republican states such as Texas, Florida,
Georgia, Arizona, and Utah, making it less necessary than ever for GOP
presidential candidates to win
Northeastern and even Midwestern states like Ohio.
Game of Health Care Jenga
Tevi Troy, The Hudson Institute, November 4 2010
Speaker-to-be John Boehner and President Obama held competing press conferences
on Wednesday, and gave competing messages on what to do about Obama’s health-care
his White House press conference, Obama defended the as-yet unimplemented
law, rejecting the notion that the election was a repudiation of the bill.
At the same time, he gave a heavily qualified statement laying out the
conditions under which he would be willing to "tweak" the bill. According
to Obama, "If the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our healthcare
system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster,
more effective reform . . . I am happy to consider some of those ideas."
This is the equivalent of apologizing by saying "I’m sorry if you were
offended." It allows Obama to reject any GOP suggestions by saying that
he does not consider them to be "improvements" according to his definition.
fresh off a historic victory, did not feel the need to make any such qualified
concessions, saying, "we have to do everything we can to try to repeal
this bill and replace it with common sense reforms to bring down the cost
of health care." So despite Obama’s friendly post-election phone call to
Boehner, the two men hold contradictory positions that cannot coexist.
Republicans, however, still lack a majority in the Senate, let alone a
filibuster-proof majority, and Obama would veto repeal legislation, which
means that repeal is simply not going to happen in the next session in
Congress. Nevertheless, it is likely that some type of repeal legislation
will pass the House early in the next year, but not the Senate.
Conservatives React to Election Results
Human Events, November 2 2010
EVENTS has compiled rapid-fire analyses from top conservatives around the
nation on what tonight's election means and what the GOP should do moving
forward. Here's what you need to know from Heritage Foundation's president
Ed Feulner, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter,
Rep. Ted Poe, California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, Concerned Women
for America President Wendy Wright, the Federalist Society's president
Eugene Meyer, Donald Lambro, Erick Erickson of RedState, Grover Norquist
of Americans for Tax Reform, and American Values' Gary Bauer and Wayne
LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association
# # #