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True North Archives - February 03, 2009
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Featured Articles

Lincoln’s Unnecessary War
By Martin Harris

The month being February, and particularly because it’s the bicentennial counting from an 1809 birth-year, it’s time for the annual worship of all things Lincoln, the President who is a textbook hero for having ended chattel slavery. There are hundreds of books on every aspect of Lincoln’s signature achievement except one. There’s less than a dozen on the validity of his preferred method –war—for ending it.  There’s only one seriously discussing his use of military tribunals, newspaper shutdowns, imprisonment and executions of civilians, suspension of habeas corpus, deliberate collateral civilian damage as war policy, and a host of similar activities far more frequently than the recent Bush administration has been so extensively criticized for. There’s almost no discussion of his mid-war objective-shift: from union-saving to slave-freeing. And yet you never hear the gentry–left chanting "Lincoln lied, people died".

Dear Mr. O'Reilly
By Curtis Hier

"No, they're gonna send the terrorists to Vermont … Leahy and Sanders want to give them Lazy Boys … Give 'em a daylong ski pass." Such was the derision recently offered by Bill O'Reilly on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" that is often reserved for Vermont on that show. In response, I'd like to offer an open letter from this seventh-generation Vermonter. ...

"Unfortunately, Mr. O'Reilly, you are largely right. Today, our leaders in Vermont lack courage. And they don't see that it's not about revenge or blood thirst. It's not about physical courage, although our brave Vermonters serving in Iraq and Afghanistan possess that kind. It's about moral courage, intellectual courage, political courage — courage of the pen, if not of the sword."

Will the Real Moderate Please Stand Up?
By Todd Fillmore

"Moderate Muslims…" "Fundamentalist Muslims…" "Spiritual Islam..." "Political Islam…" "Militant…" "Ideology…" "Extremist…"

With its center-stage presence in world affairs, barrels of ink are spent in public discussion about the world of Islam, almost always employing such words in an attempt to label, define and dissect the broad range of religiosity and political impact of Islam’s one billion or so adherents. But within the West’s recent struggle to understand how Islam’s growing presence dovetails into American ideals of self-governance, national security, and love of liberty – especially in the complex concretion of human interaction - what value do all of these labels really have?

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"…it should not be surprising to see hordes of former Reds, or of those who otherwise would have become Reds, turning from Marxism and becoming the Greens of the ecology movement. It is the same fundamental philosophy in a different guise, ready as ever to wage war on the freedom and well-being of the individual."

-- Dr. George Reisman’s magnum opus Capitalism

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Building Dark Futures
From Vermont Tiger, January 30 2009

What is regrettably happening with Vermont's Building Bright Futures program is another argument for a tax cut and real incentives for businesses to grow in this state.  Tax revenues cannot be generated out of good will – they can only be generated by businesses.  Businesses that pay salaries to employees who pay taxes on their income, who pay taxes on the homes they buy with their incomes, who pay taxes on other consumables they buy with their incomes.  Businesses aren’t evil, vampire-esque beings – a business’s profitability ensures that employees can afford to keep a roof over their head and live their lives, and provide tax revenues to the state to provide those critical services so much of our population desperately needs.

The Bureaucratic Game Of Bullet Dodging
Caledonia Record Editorial, Jan 31, 2009

Every office and agency in Vermont is facing the very real demand to cut costs, even to the point of eliminating jobs and services. And one of the skills that every bureaucrat has, but none has ever listed it on his/her resumé, is a well-developed ability to appear to cut costs/services while dodging the cost-cutting mandates. We saw two of them in recent weeks.

Study gives VT, N.H. Failing Grade on Teacher Reviews
From The Associated Press, January 29, 2009

A national study suggests quality control is seriously lacking when it comes to keeping good teachers and dumping bad ones.... Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont earned F's, as did the District of Columbia.

Moving On
From Vermont Tiger, January 26 2009

The evidence is plain and leads to a simple conclusion: IBM will keep inventing semiconductor technology but is not planning to make chips much longer. Do you get the picture? Our largest employer is in a losing, capital-intensive business and has already feathered its nest in at least three other countries to assure continued manufacturing of the chips it requires.

Oops…Time to look at Plan B.

A Conversation With Governor Douglas
From The Caledonia Record, January 28, 2009

In a freewheeling conversation with this board, Gov. Douglas frequently returned to two pivotal positions that he holds. The first is that Vermont and Vermont's legislators must do what is necessary to make our government fiscally sustainable. The second is that we must position ourselves for competitive success. He is right on both counts.

The governor believes that, given the annual expansion of our government and its concomitant expansion of costs, our government is not fiscally sustainable.

Ed Board Supports Budget Freeze
From WCAX-TV, January 28, 2009

The State Board of Education has endorsed an education spending freeze proposed by the Douglas Administration. It comes at a time when districts across the state are preparing spending plans for Town Meeting Day. The Governor says the freeze would save $40 million in education funds that could be used to spare other programs from deep cuts.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Freedom Beats A Global Retreat
By Claudia Rosett, Forbes, January 29, 2009

Just four or five years ago, the headlines were full of democratic movements, notably the yellow, rose and cedar "revolutions" in the Ukraine, Georgia and Lebanon. The Taliban had been toppled, Saddam Hussein overthrown. Democratic stirrings were heralded from the streets of Iran and China to promises of reform in Saudi Arabia and Libya. Freedom was continuing a roll begun way back in the Reagan era. Tyrants were on the outs with polite society.

These days, dictators are on a roll. Among the many signs was last week's op-ed in TheNew York Times by none other than Muammar Qaddafi, unrepentant and brutal tyrant in Tripoli for the past 40 years--though, for the purposes of this piece, the Times identifies him politely as "the leader of Libya." I am still pondering that article, and not solely because this is the same New York Times that last fall rejected an op-ed by John McCain when he was running for president. Qaddafi used his patch of American editorial space to float a plan that would demographically blitz democratic Israel out of existence by setting up a single combined Palestinian-Israeli state, which he suggests we call "Isratine."

Bin Laden: Gaza is one of the many fronts of ‘World Jihad’
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters January 23, 2009

To Osama Bin Laden, the confrontation in Gaza is not a local national issue but it is part of what he coins as "world Jihad" against the Kuffars (infidels), or more precisely the "Crusader-Zionist enemy." This stark ideological reminder came through a new audio message by the leader of al Qaeda at a time Israeli forces and Hamas’ Jihadists were still fighting in the enclave. The bin Laden address was titled "Call to Jihad to stop the aggression against Gaza" and was addressed to the "Umma" (Islamic Nation). The following is my analysis of this latest tape.

Greatest Hits (Vol. II)
From Investor's Business Daily, January 26, 2009

War On Terror: Another missile strike in Pakistan kills five more terrorist leaders. If al-Qaida thought it might get a breather with the election of President Obama, it was sadly mistaken.

Related: U.S. Officials: Al-Qaida Leadership Cadre 'Decimated' 

U.S.– India Strategic Partnership on Laser-Based Missile Defense
By James Carafano, PhD, Family Security Matters, January 29, 2009

Last week, the Press Trust of India reported that defense officials intend to produce a laser capable of shooting down enemy ballistic missiles. The United States is a global leader in directed-energy defenses, including both low and high-powered lasers. American military research is also highly advanced in the technologies of acquiring targets as well as the command, control, and battle management systems necessary to identify and direct weapons to destroy missiles and other targets.

In recent years, the United States and India have increased bilateral cooperation in a range of defense, counterterrorism, and homeland security areas. This cooperation is helping increase trust and confidence between the two nations while fostering security, stability, and prosperity in Asia. Working together on directed-energy developments offers a significant opportunity to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership.

Fighting Nukes With Bibi
From Investor's Business Daily, January 26, 2009

Middle East: Choosing Barack Obama as president is supposed to change the world, but it may be another election that averts Islamist nuclear terror. Bibi Netanyahu as Israeli leader might just neutralize Iran.

Lord Ahmed Threatens Parliament into Submission
From Cranmer Blogspot, January 27, 2009

It appears that a member of the House of Lords had invited the Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, to a private meeting in the Palace of Westminster. She had intended to invite her colleagues in the Lords to a private viewing of his ‘documentary’ Fitna, followed by discussion and debate in true parliamentary fashion. This is, after all, a liberal democracy, and their lordships enjoy the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association, not to mention certain parliamentary privileges for the protection of their function in the legislature.

But no sooner had the unsuspecting baroness sent out her invitations, Lord Ahmed raised hell. It is reported that he ‘threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders from entering the House and threatened to take the colleague who was organising the event to court’.

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From Elsewhere

A Christian Prescription for Health-Care Reform
By Dr. Donald P. Condit, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, January 28 2009

If patients participated more directly in paying for their care, medical resource consumption would diminish. Patients paying at the point of service are more prudent purchasers of health care than those perceiving health-care benefits as an entitlement. They seek to be more informed. They ask more questions about quality, outcomes, and cost. Patients directly paying insurance premiums would lead to stronger demand for better service. The affluent elderly could bear more financial responsibility.

The Second Vatican Council defined the common good as, "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily." This precept contemplates the allocation of scarce resources. The common good would be better served with market-oriented reforms rather than expanding government or employer based health-care. Third-party responsibility for health care promotes resource overconsumption. The $250 billion federal tax subsidy for employer based health-care could be more justly deployed. Increasing insurance industry competition would improve affordability and quality, including allowing insurance purchase from states without expensive mandates.

The principle of subsidiarity places a duty on those closest to a need to provide care: "A community of a higher order should not assume the task belonging to a community of a lower order and deprive it of its authority. It should rather support it in case of need" (Catechism of the Catholic Church). Subsidiarity encourages assistance for those unable to access the health care market. It motivates care by those closer to the sick than government or employer.

Who Devalued the American Dream?
By Dr. Arthur Robinson, Human Events, January 27, 2009

A half century ago, the United States was an industrial colossus -- a great monument to the productive potential of a free people. Moreover, with the advent of safe, abundant, and astonishingly inexpensive nuclear energy coupled with initial rapid advances in micro science and engineering, America was poised for another, even more spectacular era of advance. If this advance had been allowed to take place, Americans could have led all of the world's people into a wonderful period of progress and prosperity, orders of magnitude beyond anything the world has ever known -- and, as things stand now, may ever know.

What happened?  We allowed government to take away too much of our freedom.

Exclusive: Education and Indoctrination Cannot Co-exist
By Gabriel Garnica, Esq., Family Security Matters, January 29, 2009

As liberals everywhere light cigarettes in the afterglow of their inauguration paradise, sane Americans with queasy stomachs can focus their attention on the many areas where the left’s fingerprints look more like infantile graffiti than any sign of constructive or rational achievement. Clearly, education is one of these liberal crime scenes. As an educator for over 20 years who taught in an urban public school for three years, I have seen why liberals repeatedly fumble the opportunity to properly educate our young people.

Dysfunctional Perception of Education’s Role

Liberals see education as a means of indoctrination in their agenda, not necessarily as a means of personal improvement leading to overall societal gain. Many of these people will argue that they certainly want their students to improve and learn in the best possible environment, but this is a large tub of hogwash as evidenced by their own policies and track record.

Global Cooling Leaves the UN with Snow on its Face
By Todd Keister NY Examiner January 27 2009

Yesterday, for only the second time in recorded history, it snowed in the Arabian Peninsula. Last month, while the United Nations was conducting its annual Chicken Little fright fest over the global warming menace, snow was blanketing Houston and New Orleans. Did this year’s record-cold and the growing body evidence that the Earth is actually cooling rather than warming deter the UN from proclaiming man-made global warming an incontrovertible fact? Of course not; because global warming has nothing to do with concern over the environment. It is a backdoor way of attacking the capitalist economic system in general and the United States in particular – what writer Eric Englund has termed "socialism’s Trojan horse."

Economists slam Barack Obama's stimulus package
By Alex Singleton, Telegraph UK, January 28, 2009

The line from Barack Obama and Joe Biden is that all economists agree with a stimulus package to expand government spending. So they won't have been happy to see a full page advertisement in today's New York Times disagreeing, signed by around 200 academic economists, including three Nobel prize-winners.

'Stimulus' Plan Is Really About Enlarging Gov't
By Thomas Sowell, Investors Business Daily, January 26, 2009

If the Beltway politicians aren't really trying to solve this crisis as quickly as they could, what are they trying to do? One important clue may be a recent statement by the president's chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, that "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

This is the kind of cynical revelation that sometimes slips out, despite all the political pieties and spin. Crises have long been seen as great opportunities to expand the federal government's power while the people are too scared to object and before any opposition can get organized.

Bush Hatred and Obama Euphoria Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
By Peter Berkowitz, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2009

In fact, Bush hatred and Obama euphoria -- which tend to reveal more about those who feel them than the men at which they are directed -- are opposite sides of the same coin. Both represent the triumph of passion over reason. Both are intolerant of dissent. Those wallowing in Bush hatred and those reveling in Obama euphoria frequently regard those who do not share their passion as contemptible and beyond the reach of civilized discussion. Bush hatred and Obama euphoria typically coexist in the same soul.

U.S. Intelligence Monitoring 3 Ailing Foreign Leaders
By Tom Gjelten, NPR, February 2, 2009

When a country's leader falls seriously ill, attention turns to the likely successor. In democracies, the succession process is usually straightforward. But in dictatorships or monarchies, the death of a powerful leader may produce a political crisis. U.S. intelligence analysts right now are following the medical conditions of three ailing foreign leaders in particular. In each case, the United States has a stake in the outcome. ...

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