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True North Archives - February 10, 2009
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Featured Articles

The Mother of All "Global Warming" Scams
By John McClaughry

Let's assume the Obama EPA gives Schwarzenegger, Brown, Sorrell, Douglas, and Welch their heart's desire. What will it mean for Vermonters?

It will mean that about six years from now many Vermonters registering a new car will have to pay more - probably a lot more - for an exotic upscale hybrid, or cram themselves into a smaller and less crashworthy car, van or truck.

Will that solve Vermont's air pollution problem? No, because sparsely populated Vermont doesn't have an air pollution problem caused by tailpipe emissions.

Will that defeat the Menace of Global Warming? No, because for eight years the planet has been steadily cooling, and the complete disappearance of sunspots predicts a couple of cold decades ahead. In any case, human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide have no detectable effect on climate change.

Impoverished Long Islander Pleads for "The Ethan Allen" Subsidy
By Martin Harris

It surfaced in a 1 Jan 09 Rutland Herald Letter to the Editor by Glen Header Rob Simonds, who wants the taxpayers of Vermont to continue to subsidize his rail visits via Amtrak; not for his personal benefit, you understand, but because it's a "service that only provides a benefit to the [Rutland] area during these difficult economic times".  The rail service doesn't pay its own costs -maybe that's because the fares are too low?  --and Amtrak requires a Vermont taxpayer subsidy to continue the Ethan Allen from Penn Station to Rutland. The full annual subsidy amount is $2.2M, which is revealed by adding the VT AoT's figure of $1.4M saved by stopping the Ethan Allen, plus $800K saved by not starting up the bus substitute. It works out to $68 per rider, the Herald reports.  That's $3 more than the standard adult fare, which Amtrak posts on its web site at $65. This suggests that the real cost is $133, of which the rider is expected to pay a bit less than half. That's an even better buy for Mr. Simonds than his MTA Penn Station fare, where he has to pay a bit more than half. I tend to agree with those who speculate that Glen Headers like Mr. Simonds would not readily self-demote in transportation-class from train to bus, if stingy Vermonters were willing to spring only for that lesser subsidy.

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

In his inaugural address on January 8 and again in his budget address on January 22, Governor Douglas raised the issue of school budgets.  Jim Douglas is many things—stupid is not one of them.  He was well aware that he was kicking a hornet’s nest, and the educational establishment predictably swarmed all around him, stingers ready for the attack.  But what he said needed to be said, and he deserves credit for saying it.

By Tom Wilson

One of the targets of all this enforcement of illusion is Israel. It's not our fault, say the maniacal (remember, Religion of Peace) Islamists, It's all Israel's fault. They make us do it. You just need to divide Jerusalem, amputate the Golan, Judea, and Samaria, just give us another state (only the 57th) and we'll give you all peace and security. Sure we will.

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"In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college."    -- Joseph Sobran

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Catamount Health Propaganda?
From the Caledonia Record, February 03, 2009

The pro-single payer health insurance lobby (read socialized medicine lobby) loves to parrot their claim that more than 62,000 Vermonters are uninsured and at risk of suffering, even dying, because they can't afford health care. The inevitable next comment is, "My goodness! What should we do for them? Why, we must give them insurance at public expense."

There is one important consideration that is conveniently forgotten in this compassionate syllogism. The fact is this: the biggest single group of uninsured in Vermont is not the poor, or the elderly, or the children. It is the cadre of men and women between the ages of 18 and 32. The rate of uninsured children and elderly is shockingly low.

The War On Wal-Mart
From Vermont Tiger, February 05, 2009

Vermont waits, too, on Washington.  But this does not mean Montpelier has been idle.  There is a measure making its way through the statehouse that is aimed at Wal-Mart.  There is an element in Vermont that hates Wal-Mart the way that Sox fans hate the Yankees. That is, without reason and remorselessly.

Future shock
Will what makes Vermont today break it tomorrow?
By  Kevin O'Connor, Rutland Herald, February 4, 2009

Vermont takes pride in its dairy farms and a population that rates high in national health rankings. And that could be a problem, the Council on the Future of Vermont warns.

The nonpartisan study group has released a new report, "Vermont in Transition: A Summary of Social, Economic and Environmental Trends," that shows the state's lack of diversity may threaten its growth. With dairy totaling nearly 80 percent of Vermont agricultural sales, for example, "no other state has a single commodity that accounts for such a high percentage," says the report written by the Center for Social Science Research at Saint Michael's College in Colchester.

Vermont Tax Revenues Fall
From WCAX-TV, February 4, 2009

Vermont tax revenues continue to fall, coming in well short of expectations for the month of January. Personal income is the biggest single source of revenue for the state. So far for the fiscal year, tax collections are 3 percent lower than last year. The sales tax is down more than 5 percent and meals & rooms is off 2.6 percent.

Ferrisburgh Rejects Route 7 Zoning Change
By Andy Kirkaldy, Addison Independent, February 2, 2009

Despite the opinions of most residents who spoke at Thursday’s packed public hearing at the Grange Hall, Ferrisburgh selectmen unanimously rejected a zoning petition and planning commission amendments that would have limited fast food restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations along Route 7.

Democratic Lawmaker Wants to Revive Republican Tax
From the Associated Press, February 5, 2009

A Democratic lawmaker wants to help Vermont weather the recession by reviving an income tax increase proposed by former Republican Gov. Richard Snelling.

Vermont Newspapers Rethink Business Strategies
By Nina Keck, Vermont Public Radio, February 9, 2009

All over, the newspaper industry has been hard hit by the recession. In Vermont, The Rutland Herald, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and The Burlington Free Press have reduced staff.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

CIA Director: Al Qaeda is Job 1 of Top 10 Security Challenges in 2009
From, February 02, 2009

Iran, North Korea and Al Qaeda are still in, but Iraq is out of the list of top 10 national security threats the United States is likely to face in the coming year.

Bush Was Right. Again.
By Monica Crowley, Human Events, February 04, 2009

You'd never know it from listening to the lamestream media this weekend, but Iraqis went to the polls in nationwide provincial elections.  Turnout was strong, and there was not a single major act of violence.

The early returns show a repudiation of the Islamist and other religious parties which had been in large part dominated by Iran.  Secular parties, and in particular, the party of the current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, appear to have gained position.  This is a huge step toward a secular, stable representative democracy in Iraq.

Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil
When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror?
By Judea Pearl, The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2009

No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.

Iran's New Satellites: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Space
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters February 7, 2009

The launching of an Iranian satellite into orbit, said to be about "communications technology" and "earthquake monitoring," would have been a normal news item not exceeding the greater news report about India landing a space craft on the moon last month. But according to news agencies around the world, Western chanceries and national security agencies have taken the development "seriously." Associated Press and the BBC described reactions as "nervous." Although the debate about the value of Iranian space technology and commercial rocket capacity usually concludes that the Mullah regime is far away from reaching a respectable level, many defense analysts dismiss the issue as about the sole industrialization of the Islamic Republic: In fact it is about the "weaponization" of the satellite. Obviously this one launch may not be the crossing for the line, but the first step was accomplished and statements were made about the immediate following steps. The quasi consensus today is about the strategic intention of Tehran's war room, solidly in the hands of the Pasdaran (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. As I argued in discussions I had on France 24 TV and the BBC this week, the space program is one component of a regional strategic deployment. Hence, it deserves to be analyzed from this perspective

Iraq Is Obama's Mideast Pillar
From The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2009

What about security? A month ago, Gen. Ray Odierno predicted that "al Qaeda will try to exploit the elections because they don't want them to happen. So I think they will attempt to create some violence and uncertainty in the population." But al Qaeda was a no-show on Saturday. Meanwhile, more U.S. soldiers died in accidents (12) than in combat (4) for the month of January. The war is over.

So what are you going to do about the one bright spot on your map -- an Arab country that is genuinely democratic, increasingly secular and secure, anti-Iranian and, all-in-all, on your side? So far, your only idea seems to bid to it good luck and bring most of the troops home in time for Super Bowl Sunday, 2010.

That's a campaign promise, but it isn't a foreign policy. Foreign policy begins with the recognition that Iraq has now moved from the liability side of the U.S. ledger to the asset side. As an Arab democracy, it is a model for what we would like the rest of the Arab world to become. As a Shiite democracy, it is a reproach to Iranian theocracy. As the country at the heart of the Middle East, it is ideally located to be a bulwark against Tehran's encroachments.

United Nations Population Fund Leader Says Family Breakdown is a Triumph for Human Rights
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman,, February 3, 2009

A leader in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has declared that the breakdown of traditional families, far from being a "crisis," is actually a triumph for human rights.

Speaking at a colloquium held last month at Colegio Mexico in Mexico City, UNFPA representative Arie Hoekman denounced the idea that high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births represent a social crisis, claiming that they represent instead the triumph of "human rights" against "patriarchy."

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From Elsewhere

Save The Children (from Global Warming Propaganda)
By Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, February 05, 2009

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the Future
--Adolf Hitler, 1935
No regime in modern history exploited propaganda as diabolically and successfully as did the Third Reich, thanks, in large part, to its focus on those most vulnerable to their ideological manipulation -- children.  And with more American adults seeing the cold truth behind warming misinformation, alarmists are stepping up efforts to brainwash our schoolchildren using a playbook that would have impressed Joseph Goebbels himself.

Related: The Persistence of Ideology

CBO: Obama Stimulus Harmful Over Long Haul
By Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, February 4, 2009

President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Related: It Still Won't Work
By Robert Stacy McCain, The American Spectator, February 9, 2009

It is never a bad time for Republicans to speak economic truth, and the truth about the Pelosi plan can still be summed up in three words: It won't work.

Related: Economic Minutemen

Hollywood’s Radical Che Chic
By Bruce Edward Walker, Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, February 4, 2009

The people I talked to conceded that they were impressed by Soderbergh’s depiction of Che Guevara as an ideologically pure revolutionary, a humanitarian doctor who tends to sick children and fallen comrades, and even a man of religious faith. If the only thing you know about Guevara is what you get from this new film, then maybe that view is understandable. But the truth is that "Che" serves essentially as a cinematic paean to one of the twentieth-century’s most infamous butchers who had as much to do with purity, compassion and piety as T.S. Eliot’s "The Waste Land" has to do with garbage dumps.

The Insolvency of the Fed
By Philipp Bagus and Markus H. Schiml, Ludwig Von Mises Institute, February 5, 2009

Since August 15, 1971 the US dollar has been an irredeemable paper currency. Every irredeemable paper currency in history has failed. Yet, the experiment of the US dollar and the rest of the fiat paper world continues.

During the current crisis, however, financial systems all over the world are increasingly struggling, and the end of the experiment seems closer. In fact, the Federal Reserve System has used up much of its "ammunition" for monetary interventions in an attempt to keep the experiment going, lowering its target interest rate almost to zero. Other central banks are also quickly approaching the "zero limit" for interest rates.

Fastest Failure Ever?
By Jed Babbin, Human Events, February 2, 2009

It’s only four weeks since it convened, so how could a reasonable person say the 111th Congress is a failure? Actually, a reasonable person could hardly avoid that conclusion.

The 110th Congress’s legacy is one of inaction, failing to address the nation’s most urgent problems. The worst part of that failure was the hastily-drafted bank bailout bill of last fall which -- at the cost of $700 billion -- was rammed through despite warnings that it simply wouldn’t work.

Save Planet or Economy?
By Dennis Avery, American Conservative Union Foundation, February 4, 2009

But the nation is now entering its third straight harsher winter, triggered says NASA by a shift to the Pacific Ocean’s 25–30 year cold phase. Only a fool would escalate energy prices in a recession while global temperatures are trending down.

The new President will thus have to dance the same federal minuet as Kevin Rudd, the new Australian Prime Minister—also elected on a Green platform to "save the planet." Rudd is promising a tiny 5 percent cut in greenhouse emissions—trying to keep his base without scaring investors away from Australia’s manufacturing and its big farming and coal industries. The dance leaves no one happy, most certainly not millions of Australian investors.

'Too Old' for Hip Surgery
As we inch towards nationalized health care, important lessons from north of the border.
By Nadeem Esmail, The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2009

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are inching the U.S. toward government-run health insurance. Last week's expansion of Schip -- the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- is a first step. Before proceeding further, here's a suggestion: Look at Canada's experience.

Health-care resources are not unlimited in any country, even rich ones like Canada and the U.S., and must be rationed either by price or time. When individuals bear no direct responsibility for paying for their care, as in Canada, that care is rationed by waiting.

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