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True North Archives - January 27, 2009
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Incandescent Unpopularities
By John McClaughry

It has fallen to Gov. Jim Douglas to present to the 2009 legislature a budget proposal replete with incandescent unpopularities. It's not that Gov. Douglas is some kind of hard-hearted Scrooge, who revels in human suffering. Nor is he a notable subscriber to President Reagan's 1981 inaugural declaration that "government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." Far from it.

But there is no doubt that Vermont's state government faces a serious budget problem. Already the administration has made severe cuts in the FY2009 budget, ending this June. In the approaching FY2010, the General Fund, compared to a year ago, faces a revenue shortfall of $152 million. That will produce a budget gap of over $200 million.

Senatrix-Wannabe Kennedy, Y’know
By Martin Harris

There’s been scant evidence of the gentry-left rising to the defense of one of their own, that scion of the Kennedy-Camelot branch of American political-intellectual royalty, Caroline, after her remarkable performance in a recent CBS interview. They could have argued, for example, that she didn’t say  "…and stuff" even once. She did say  "…y’know" about every two seconds for a total of about a hundred or so, according to commentators who actually kept a running count. It was cringe-productive to watch and hear. It was also a demonstration of native-language incompetency which wouldn’t have been tolerated by the Main Stream Media for a New York minute had it come from the mouth of an identifiable non-leftist. Consider, for example, the journalistic vitriol poured by the intellectually-superior (just ask them) MSM over that "dumb-soldier" President Dwight Eisenhower for his use of the then-new verb "finalize" at a time when such neologisms hadn’t yet secured academic recognition. When one of their own does far worse, embarrassingly so, the MSM chooses to ignore it. Or, in an isolated case, praise it.

The Making of Useless Law
By Karen Kerin

In the wake of over 60,000 people signing a petition for Jessica’s Law to help protect our children from pedophiles following the horrendous murder of Brooke Bennett, the summer study group of legislators agreed to present such legislation, but with a terrible oversight insisted on by the prosecutors; led by our attorney general. Most people are unfamiliar with how the criminal law operates and do not understand the oversight, so in a nutshell, this is how it works.

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"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

-- James Madison, letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822, Ref: Letters and other Writings of James Madison, vol. 3 (276)

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Dangerous Trends and the Need for Action (pdf)
Presentation by David Coates Vermont Business Rountable

David Coates' analysis of pension and other benefit liabilities (significantly underfunded) facing the state. This is the not-so-obvious future consequence of government spending spinning out of control.

Stick 'em Up - State of VT Would Seize Town's Surplus
By Peter Hirschfeld, Times Argus, January 22, 2009

The unorganized town of Glastenbury has amassed an impressive property-tax surplus, despite its sparse population. The $254,000 reserve, funded by six full-time residents and a handful of seasonal dwellers, has accrued at a rate of about $20,000 annually over the past decade or so. 

Now the state of Vermont would like to take it.

Colchester Severs Choice Ties with Essex
By Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, January 22, 2009

The Colchester School Board decided this month to pull the plug on a school choice agreement with neighboring Essex High School after concluding that the arrangement was too expensive for a district in which enrollment is declining.

Students participating in the choice agreement can continue to do so until they graduate, but no new students can apply to enroll at Essex High School. Essentially too many students were exiting the Colchester district for Essex, said Dirk Reith, chairman of the Colchester School Board.

Middlebury Hydro Project Stalls Over Water Rights Debate
By John Flowers, Addison Independent, January 19, 2009

The developers of a proposed small-scale hydroelectric operation at the base of the Otter Creek Falls in Middlebury have secured a federal OK to ramp up planning for the project, but that planning has apparently hit a snag at the local level.

Burlington's Road To Nowhere
From WCAX-TV, January 22, 2009

The Southern Connector has a long and tortured history. The earliest conceptual drawings back in the 1960s showed a four-lane elevated highway along the Burlington waterfront. That original plan never had a chance. But no other plan got the traction it needed either.

Political Correctness Carried To The Ridiculous
From The Caledonia Record, January 21, 2009

In a recent op-ed article, John McClaughry put his finger on an ideological insanity that is hampering Vermont's "green image" and helping to force unnecessary green regulations and expensive goals on the state. 

One of McClaughry's recommendations for an affordable state budget follows: "Make Vermont's proportion of renewable-source electricity the nation's highest. This requires only deleting the artificial 'less than 200 megawatts' definition of 'renewable,' thus making HydroQuebec hydropower what it is everywhere but in Vermont, a renewable [power] resource. That would ease the pressure to unwisely subsidize uneconomic renewable energy producers."

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Is Israel Losing the Propoganda War? Maybe Not
By Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman, Family Security Matters, January 21, 2009

For several decades now, the generous European policy encouraging Third World immigration (largely out of need for labor to augment Europe’s shrinking population) has gone unchecked. However, since 9/11, a small number of European writers, out of sync with their leftist elite colleagues, have been sounding the alarm that Europe has permitted an anti-democratic and increasingly violent Islamist population into its midst. European police and security people have taken note and action – but they are unfortunately often countered by leftist judges who prefer to see terrorism as "freedom fighting." But this too is changing.

Ordinary citizens not enchanted by theoretical liberalism have begun to resent the behavior of these immigrants. They experience the increase of rapes, battery of women, exploitation of generous welfare, and Islamo-fascist propaganda campaigns. Increasingly, the alliance between Islamists and European anarchists (who have nothing in common but their hatred of the U.S. and Israel) has produced street mobs ready to rumble anywhere, which has spread to the U.S. as well.

Serious European leaders are increasingly concerned about this Islamist threat – and seemingly overnight have been throwing their support to Israel in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Even more heartening is new staunch support of the U.S. position on this conflict.

Iranians Are Pro-Israel' - Part II
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz Israeli National News January 13, 2009

The following is Part II of an interview Israel National News conducted in recent days with Amil Imani, an Iranian-born pro-democracy activist currently living in North America. The discussion focused on an effort to understand Iran at this critical time in history.

Al Qaeda Bungles Arms Experiment
Biological or Chemical Weapons
By Eli Lake, The Washington Times, January 20 2009

Earlier this month after an experiment with unconventional weapons went awry, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday.

The official, who spoke on the condition he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said he could not confirm press reports that the accident killed at least 40 al Qaeda operatives, but he said the mishap led the militant group to shut down a base in the mountains of Tizi Ouzou province in eastern Algeria.

Dalai Lama: Terrorism resistant to non-violence
By Ethel C. Fenig, American Thinker, January 21, 2009

The Dalai Lama, living in exile since the Chinese Communists brutally took over his hereditary kingdom of Tibet, revered for his wisdom and adherence to peace and non violence startling acknowledged some tough realities.

Speaking at a public lecture in India he told his audience, "Terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa because the minds of terrorists are closed. "

(According to Wikipedia, ahimsa means "to do no harm (literally: the avoidance of violence - himsa). It is an important tenet of the religions that originated in ancient India (Hinduism, Buddhism and especially Jainism). Ahimsa is a rule of conduct that bars the killing or injuring of living beings." ECF)

Book: ‘Karin in Saudi Arabia: A Look into What Saudi Arabia is Really Like’ by Dr. Sami Alrabaa
The Editors, Family Security Matters, January 21, 2009

Dr. Sami Alabraa has written about the true story of Karin, a German woman who was living in Saudi Arabia and fell in love with a Saudi. Unfortunately for Karin, what should have been a fairy tale turned into a nightmare, as were the situations of several others whose tales Dr. Alabraa tells.

5 Minutes to Midnight
By Ilana Freedman, Canada Free Press, January 14, 2009

These are dangerous times. The volume and ferocity of anti-American chatter across the Internet have reached a level we have not seen since the days leading up to 9/11. The radical Islamists, who would use violence against those who do not accept their view of life, have become arrogant enough to bring their savage methods to new depths of depravity. To understand this bolder enemy, we must recognize what they are capable of.

Mumbai - Last November, a handful of terrorists came into Mumbai by stealth, and within hours brought a city of 18 million to its knees. They attacked ten symbolic sites favored by tourists, murdered some 200 people, and left a wake of indescribable destruction, shattering thousands of lives in their wake.

They singled out American, British, and Jewish targets, and ordered the terrorists to "kill to their last breath". Many of their victims were savagely tortured before being murdered. So brutal was the torture that experienced doctors who later examined the bodies were in shock and could not find the words to even speak about it.

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From Elsewhere

Abortion: The Unspoken Jihad
By Matt Spivey, American Thinker January 22, 2009

In Arabic, the word "jihad" means "inner struggle," and for those involved in one particular battle, there is no simple answer and varying perspectives cause, in many cases, violent reactions and repercussions.  That word has come to signify the murder of innocence and the demolition of security in a time of worldwide uncertainty.  The death toll keeps rising as years keep passing, and fighting in this war guarantees earning the label of "radical," "extremist," or "fanatic."  Yet those who do keep fighting are actually trying to save lives.  With the 36th year of Roe v. Wade passing today, the war rages on. 

Rules for International Monetary Reform
By Jesus Huerta de Soto, Ludwig Von Mises Institute, January 21, 2009

In chapter 9 of my book, Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles (pp. 789–803), I design a process of transition toward the only world financial order that, being fully compatible with the free-enterprise system, can eliminate the financial crises and economic recessions that cyclically affect the world's economies. Such a proposal for international financial reform is, of course, extremely relevant at this time, since the disconcerted governments of Europe and America are planning a world conference to reform the international monetary system in order to avoid future financial and banking crises such as the one that currently grips the entire Western world. As I explain in detail over the nine chapters of my book, any future reform will fail as miserably as past reforms unless it strikes at the very root of the present problems and rests on the following principles:

Conservatism's Dilemma: To be or not to be in the GOP
By Larrey Anderson, American Thinker, January 21, 2009

The GOP heavily (almost exclusively) relies on conservatives for grassroots campaign workers and financial support. But the Republican Party has a long history of exploiting conservatives' efforts and misusing conservatives' financial contributions. In many ways, the situation is reminiscent of an abusive marriage. Is it time for conservatives to finally recognize the lies and abuse and move out of the house? Or is some sort of reconciliation still possible?

The New Old Thing
By the Editors, National Review, January 21, 2009

President Obama’s task in his inaugural address was to unify the country behind his leadership, so he did not give a partisan speech. He made several nods to post-partisanship, as when he pledged to get past "stale political arguments" and "worn-out dogmas"—pledges that both of his predecessors also made.

But Obama does not consider the dogmas of liberalism worn out, as his speech made clear. From the financial crisis he draws the lesson that "the market can spin out of control" when it is not kept under the "watchful eye" of government. One need not deny that government has a vital regulatory role to recognize ideology masquerading as thought.

EU's Nuclear Option
From Investor's Business Daily, January 21, 2009

Energy: After letting Europe freeze for three weeks as Russia sparred over gas prices with Ukraine, the taps are finally flowing for Europe. But the problem isn't over. It will be when Europe gets real on nuclear energy.

Poll: Tax Cuts Will Help Economy More Than Spending
By Foon Rhee, The Boston Globe, January 21, 2009

Obama and House Democrats are pushing a stimulus package that includes about $550 billion in new spending and $275 billion in tax cuts over the next two years. The poll found 58 percent supporting infrastructure spending, and 71 percent in favor of tax cuts. Asked whether the spending or tax cuts would be more effective, 55 percent picked tax cuts. ?The higher faith in tax cuts is apparently partly because 42 percent believe that the spending projects would be done mostly for political reasons rather than to help the economy.

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