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True North Archives - January 12, 2010
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Featured Articles

Crossing the State's Fiscal Chasm: the PSG Report
By John McClaughry

Based on the PSG's 32-page report (net of padding), explained at a January 6 news conference in the Governor's office, one would do well to harbor considerable skepticism about the prospects of the purported savings. ...

After a year of analyzing, designing, renegotiating, streamlining, and strategizing, the Agency would achieve savings of 5% ($18 million). Add up the savings for all of the programs included in the report, and the magic $38 million in savings appears!

How are these magic percentages arrived at? There isn't a hint.

The 18 Percent Western Union Message
By Martin Harris

Think, for example, through the implications of Entergyís recent advice to Vermontís Golden Dome folks that it proposes to cut its power sales into Vermont meters from 50% of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant output down to 18%, as the 19 December issue of The Rutland Herald reported. For high school grads disdainful of math proficiency (about 2/3 of them, the NAEP tests show) thatís a 64% reduction. The Herald was careful to tell readers that the ratepayer cost would go up 52.5%, but not that 82% of the Vernon plantís output would now be sold beyond Vermontís borders and the reach of Vermontís legislators. Unvocalized Entergy message: "we can pull the remaining 18% if we choose to".  You canít send a direct verbal message via Western Union any more (money transfers only, please; the traditional telegram service ended in 1999) but non-direct-verbal messages can still be implied by senders and (sometimes) inferred by receivers in such similar venues as movie theaters and legislative-assembly halls.

"Scribblings" An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
By Rep. Thomas F. Koch, Barre Town

"Kum-ba-ya, mí lord, kum-ba-yaÖ."  Oh what a love fest weíve been having in Montpelier!  Will it last?  Iíd like to think so, but Iím not holding my breath. ...

On the surface, things look warm and fuzzy.  But even if the smiles should continue, it might pay to look at the substance of these issues.

Flight 263
By John Stuart

Following the attempted Delta bombing, a steady procession of administration officials have issued statements ranging from the ridiculous ("the system worked") to late but welcomed admission ("systemic failure") in connection with protocols that exist to protect the American public. Subsequently, we are told that security programs are to be re-assessed, new measures implemented and the end product will result in the restoration of safety and confidence for this important mode of transportation. That is reassuring until the next airliner event, which according to the laws of probability, will result in a very bad day for some travelers and those that might be unfortunate enough to be situated under the flight path.

But, playing defense is a very costly and difficult endeavor, particularly when protective measures are either based on a false premise (criminal as opposed to ideological) or constrained by political correctness. Two quotes aptly summarize this dilemma...

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"The chronic shortage of good scientists, engineers and other professionals which plagues us is the result of time wasted in public schools which must be made up later on."- by Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (often called the "father of the atomic submarine")
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Mullen Salutes Vermont Troops at Deployment
From WCAX-TV, January 8, 2010

Family members weren't the only ones saying goodbye at Friday's deployment ceremony. The country's highest ranking military officer also said farewell.

"We can only do it because of you, so I am incredibly grateful for all you do," Admiral Mike Mullen told the troops.

Admiral Mullen is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He came to Vermont after receiving an invitation from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. Mullen's visit was a first here in Vermont, but a detail that made this send-off bittersweet for the soldiers and their families.

The Rising Tide....In Montpelier
From WCAX-TV, January 2010

Coverage of the "Can You Hear Us Now? Rally/Seminar at the capital and the second annual convention for the Vermont Campaign for Liberty.

Political Bedfellows In Different Bedrooms?
Caledonia Record Editorial, January 8, 2010

It's interesting that several labor unions have demonstrated in Montpelier in favor of relicensing Vermont Yankee. Their championing of Vermont Yankee flies in the face of Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin's and Rep. Shap Smith's rabid opposition to such a relicensing. The leaders of 15 unions broke ranks with the Democratic legislative leaders at a news conference by stating emphatically that they want Vermont Yankee to be relicensed.

Why Vermonters May Fear "Help" From The Feds
From Vermont Tiger, January 7, 2010

Several things spring to mind: First, forgiveness may work on a personal level, but it doesnít exist on a balance sheet. The money comes from somewhere and since we are deeply in debt as a nation, the $100 billion needs to be borrowed, and those who lend expect to be paid back. With interest.

Mr. Welch is upfront about this and is clear his proposal cannot be considered a bailout. Under law the interest paid on the borrowed money must be paid out of a stateís general fund. His effort would spare the state that expense Ė for the moment. But the real concern is how the congressmanís intentions could be misinterpreted here in Vermont.

The fear is that legislators would interpret the potential "savings" as a safety valve and not take the action necessary to put the fund on a solid long-term footing.

Gone With The Wind
Caledonia Record Editorial, January 7 2010

For any wind farm vote up or down to be binding, it should include the eligible voters in all of the towns from which the ridge to be despoiled by a wind farm is visible. Without those votes being included, a vote by the citizens of the taxing town, in this case Lowell, is nothing more than a clever public relations gimmick that guarantees that the birthright of the rest of us will be gone with the wind.

Vermont Needs a Reality Check
By P.G. Behr, Vermont Tiger, January 9, 2010

Politics in the New Year should be interesting. Will the Vermont Legislature face reality? With indisputable evidence that our state is facing unprecedented fiscal problems, will our politicians get serious about reducing government spending?

The race for the Democratic nomination for governor will bring many promises from the candidates. Peter Shumlin tells us he already has a website, a Facebook page and will be communicating via Twitter, the better to tell us about his optimism (?) for 2010, his plan for creating new jobs (green ones, of course) and the need for more Vermont health care, since he isnít sure the federal health care bill will serve Vermonters adequately! But not a word, thus far, about how he believes Vermontís indebtedness, which is now measured in billions, can be paid off. Hopefully, the other Democrats aspiring to the governorship will be more realistic.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Spying on Icebergs Instead of Terrorists?
Obama Program Diverts Intelligence Assets to Climate Research
National Center for Public Policy, January 5, 2010

As terrorists continue to infiltrate America, the Obama Administration is tasking some of our nation's most elite intelligence-gathering agencies to divert their resources to environmental scientists researching global warming.

Experts with The National Center for Public Policy Research are decrying this practice as a distraction from important counterterrorism duties.  They further question if it is a possible avenue to renew climate change subterfuge already plaguing some of these scientists.

Empowering Iranians to Dislodge the Mullahs
By Amil Imani, American Thinker, January 08, 2010

The mullahs presently ruling Iran are faced with monumental threats. Internally, the great majority of the populace is against their misrule. Labor unions, teachers associations, student groups, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, and many others have suffered and continue to suffer inordinate hardship under the heavy-handed mullahs and their frontmen. Externally, they are engaged in brinksmanship with the United States and Israel, while trying to wrestle the mantle of Islamic leadership from the Sunni Saudis and their Wahhabi cabal.

Sadly, President Obama is intent on making deals with the inveterate mullahs, moving along the same treacherous path of his four predecessors who accomplished nothing, other than prolonging the lives of these Islamist miscreants.

Iran's al Qaeda connection in Yemen
Pretending the problem doesn't exist won't make it go away
The Washington Times, January 6, 2010

The attempted Christmas Day underwear bombing of Northwest Flight 253 may have Iranian fingerprints, but those are dots the Obama administration doesn't want to connect.

Iran and al Qaeda have made mutual war on America in Yemen before. In November 2008, Western security officials intercepted a letter signed by bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri thanking Iran for its "vision" in helping al Qaeda establish a foothold in Yemen after being routed from Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The terror leader praised Tehran for its "monetary and infrastructure assistance" related to a September 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen's capital Sana'a. Sixteen people were killed in the attack, which featured machine gun and rocket fire supporting a double suicide car bombing.

Last January, Saudi Guantanamo alumnus Mohammed Atiq Awayd al-Harbi (a.k.a. al-Awfi, or detainee No. 333) turned up in a videotape as a leader of the newly formed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the organization that recruited Flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Al-Awfi had been released to Saudi custody in 2007 and went through Saudi jihadist deprogramming before being set free. He turned himself back in to Saudi authorities in February 2009 and testified that Iran was involved in supporting Shi'ite rebels in Yemen, and was also making cash available to al Qaeda.

The Next Theater in the War on Terror?
By David Price, The National Review January 7, 2010

Yemen is fit to become another major theater in the War on Terror. The country is tribal, divided into Sunni and Shia, and hardly centralized or governed at all. Like Afghanistan or Somalia, it is more of an inhabited space than a nation-state. People just do what they like there. Never mind the rule of law, there is not even a proper system of car registration. Once the vehicle I was in was overtaken on the left and the right side simultaneously ó the drivers were probably high on qat, which acts like an amphetamine as they chew it. Men carry daggers habitually, and even small arms. In Saada, there is an open market where every sort of weapon is openly for sale, and for cash you can buy a tank. According to hearsay, African slaves are also available.

Fear of a Militarized Iran, as Guard Gains 'Primacy:' Study
By Staff Writers, AFP, January 5, 2010

The Revolutionary Guard Corps has "gained primacy" in Iran since the 2009 presidential election, fueling fears there that the country is becoming militarized, a Pentagon-sponsored study said Tuesday.

The study by the RAND Corporation also urged US policymakers to take "great care" in their statements regarding Iran in order not to give the leadership a pretext to divert attention from domestic troubles, like the economy.

The disputed election was "a watershed event" in the Islamic republic's history "that has altered elite relationships and solidified the position of the Islamist right and the Revolutionary Guards in Iranian politics," it said.

Interpol Immunity
Obama takes America down another notch with an unnecessary, reckless act.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, January 3rd, 2010

An agencyís having a permanent U.S. presence is more of a reason to bind it by U.S. law, not a rationale for immunizing it. And Interpol apparently has had no difficulty operating under the Reagan-era restraints during the five years since its permanent office opened. Moreover, as Richardson points out, Interpol is not just "any other international organization"; it is an international law-enforcement organization. As Iíve explained before, "what prevents law-enforcement and its controlling government authority from becoming tyrannical" are the constraints of law ó in the U.S., such provisions as the Fourth Amendment, the Freedom of Information Act, and other limitations of the Constitution and federal law that protect the liberty and privacy of Americans.

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From Elsewhere

John Dewey and the Philosophical Refounding of America
National Review Special: The Progressives
By Tiffany Jones Miller, December 31, 2009

The "progressive" label is back in vogue; politicians of the Left routinely use it to describe themselves, hoping to avoid the radical connotations associated with being "liberal" in the post-Reagan era. The irony in this is manifold, especially because the aim of the movement to which the name refers, the late-19th- and early-20th-century progressive movement, was anything but moderate. ...

It began with a conscious rejection of the natural-rights principles of the American founding and the promotion of a new understanding of freedom, history, and the state in their stead. From this foundation, the progressives then criticized virtually every aspect of our traditional way of life, recommending reforms or "social reorganization" on a sweeping scale, the primary engine of which was to be a new, "positive" role for the state. As the progressivesí influence in the academy increased, and growing numbers of their students sallied forth into all aspects of endeavor, this intellectual transformation gradually began to reshape the broader American mind, and, in time, American political practice. "A new regime in thought," as Eldon Eisenach writes, "began to become a new regime in power."

Third-Rail Shocker

From Investorís Business Daily, January 8, 2010

Entitlements: While a massive health care entitlement is fashioned in secret, another one, Social Security, is running deficits decades earlier than expected. We've been kicking the can down the road. We're out of road.

Tea Party Activists Gaining Steam Across the Country
From Florida to California, Conservatives Are Challenging Moderate Republicans
By Kate Snow & Kristina Wong, ABC News, January 7, 2010

A political movement is sweeping the country, and taking politicians down.

The most recent victim of "tea party" activists was Florida Republican Jim Greer, who resigned from as state party chairman this week, in part because of the activists' objections to his alliance with Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate. The activists are vocally supporting Crist's opponent -- a young, outspoken conservative, Marco Rubio -- and some believe the tea party group may bring down Crist, too.

Expect Double Dip in Second Quarter: Economist
By Robin Knight, CNBC, January 6, 2010

The U.S. economy will slip back into recession in the second and third quarter of 2010 as the boost from fiscal stimulus measures and inventory rebuilding wears off, James Shugg, senior economist at Westpac Bank, told CNBC Wednesday. ...

"You'll see the boost to growth from fiscal stimulus and inventory rebuilding lose momentum and what's left? A consumer that's still inclined to save more than spend, a banking system still dragged down by one in four mortgages being in default," he said. 

Detroit In Ruins
By Steven Crowder,, January 3, 2010

Comedian Steven Crowder highlights the devastating state of affairs in Detroit that are the result of 49 years of leftists, feel-good policies that have effectively killed a formerly booming American city.

The CO2 Lie
From Investorís Business Daily, January 5, 2010

Climate Change: A new study shows that Earth's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from all sources, including man, has remained unchanged for 160 years. As it turns out, there may be no carbon to offset.

The Trouble with Harry
Reid's racial comments aren't his worst rhetorical offense.
Wall Street Editorial, January 11, 2010

We can think of several reasons for Harry Reid to resign as Senate Majority Leader, though the flap over his obtuse racial comments isn't one of them....

That prize goes to his all too public comments in April 2007 that "the war is lost" in Iraq, even as the surge was finally making victory possible. That was a betrayal of American soldiers risking their lives in Iraq, and to the extent it emboldened the enemy, it may have cost American lives.

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