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True North Archives - March 06, 2007
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Featured Articles

The Peacemakers
by Deborah T. Bucknam

The "peace" movement defines peace as no overseas military operations by American troops. That is not a definition of peace. Peace is the absence of political violence. Political violence is defined by the Center for Systemic Peace as the number of deaths resulting from wars, including government violence against citizens, civil wars and insurgencies, as well as wars between nations. By that measure, we are in an era of almost unprecedented peace. According to the Center for Systemic Peace which has tracked world wide political violence since 1946, political violence has decreased dramatically since the end of the Cold War in the late 1980’s. And in this decade, the world wide number of deaths as a result of political violence is only one third what it was in the "peaceful" 1990’s. --Deborah Bucknam has been practicing law in Vermont since 1979, and was recently licensed to practice in New Hampshire. 

Silence and Secrecy Rule the Statehouse
By Robert Roper

It is a sign of arrogance that the ruling majority thinks they can cut Vermonters out of the governing process and cut themselves off from the accountability that comes from open government. Vermonters deserve a view and a voice.

Attitudes Have Consequences
By Martin Harris

You get what you vote for. Thus, if you vote for candidates who promise " better" government programs (as in education), more "free" services (as in public transportation), "fairer" distribution of costs (as in Acts 60-and-68’s gold-town/shark-pool tax system, and "saving" the environment from most forms of construction, you can reasonably expect an ever-larger school system, as measured in both grade levels (pre-K is inevitably coming, a 2-grade increase) and staffing (K-12 employment increases even as enrollments shrink); an expanding subsidized bus and maybe even light-rail network; tax increases tilted to hit the more lucrative targets so as to please those who out-vote them; and, of course, a regulatory bias against most forms of non-governmental development or construction.

By Steve Cable

We applaud Vermont’s emotional desire to protect individuals from discrimination and undue burdens, but urge that such emotion must be coupled with reason and thoughtful consideration. Though perhaps well intended, there are major problems with this legislation. ... First, all of the behavior to be protected is associated with a treatable mental disorder. According to every respected body of mental health experts such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, and both psychological diagnostic manuals DSM-IV and ICD-10, people with a "strong and persistent cross-gender identification and a persistent discomfort with their sex or a sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex" suffer from Gender Identity Disorder, or Gender Dysphoria. ... If Vermont truly wishes to equally protect those with disabilities, then the only fair and legal approach would be to extend those same protections to all with such disabilities – not merely to one group. --Steve Cable is the President of Vermont Renewal

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Subject: Sheehan and the Legislature

Dear Editor:

I want to thank everyone who came out to Springfield and Brattleboro yesterday, especially David Ayer and Phil Kiver who followed Sheehan every where she went. I want to thank Al Kulas for his support on New Hampshire talk radio and attendance at our counter-protest and all the other veterans and citizens who took the time on Sunday evening to come out and show respect and support for our soldiers and for the mission in Iraq. Thanks also to Paul Beaudry, Lenore Broughton and Rob Skinner at True North Radio in Burlington for spreading the word about Sheehan’s ‘barnstorming tour’. 

I would especially like to thank my mother-in-law, Jan Baldwin, for her courage to confront Sheehan in the Brattleboro Union High School auditorium and call her what she is….a traitor. If only our elected officials in Montpelier had the same courage….

While we were small in number compared to Sheehan’s circus, we did line the auditorium with proud American flags and signs, and clearly showed Sheehan, Dewalt and company that they do not speak for all of us. While the police were called by Sheehan’s people to ‘protect’ them from Phil Kiver, they ended up escorting my mother-in-law out to protect HER from Sheehan’s people. 

Some who were contacted to stand against Sheehan’s message responded with statements such as: "This isn’t important, we should focus on property tax reform and things that ‘matter to Vermonters" also stated by one of Vermont’s highest elected officials on Friday before the Hearing. 

As Vermonters, it should matter to all of us that our Statehouse has just been used to advance the interests of the enemies of the United States of America. 

Last night Sheehan stated that the Terrorist Insurgency that is blowing up civilian men, women and children and American soldiers in the streets of Baghdad are "freedom fighters" who are gallantly winning the war against the most powerful ‘occupying Army in the world, that she ‘dislikes’ what the American Flag stands for…

In reflecting on pictures and statements of Sheehan in the embrace of Hugo Chavez, an enemy of the United States and ally of Mamoud Ahmadinejhad of Iran, who is sending into Iraq the terrorists and weapons that are killing our soldiers and Iraqi civilians, who would blow America and Israel off the map…..Sheehan has become a traitor. 

In passing the Resolution to withdraw our Troops from Iraq and condemn the mission our soldiers are fighting for, and by inviting Sheehan to the Statehouse to legitimize her fervor, our Vermont Legislature has sold out our Troops to the enemy and nullified what our fallen soldiers have sacrificed for. Our elected leaders are cowards who are being strong-armed by a radical minority and are pandering to their treasonous pursuit….they are playing politics with the lives and sacrifices of the United States Military for political preservation and political gain

While many kept their distance from this issue believing that withholding attention to it would make it go away, the reality is that the Vermont Legislature has now been infected with the disease that will turn Iraq into the next Vietnam. Sheehan’s people stated proudly that Vermont is the first State to condemn the War on their road into every State within the Union. Vermont should be ashamed to be the first State to lead the conflagration. We are intentionally naïve to believe it will never go that far in the political climate leading to the next elections. We have learned nothing. 

Vermont has turned her back on the men and women who believe in their Mission to bring stability in the Middle East, who will tell us all a different and more promising message of hope and victory….if we will but listen to them. The Vermont Legislature has abandoned our Troops to preserve their careers. I am appalled and disgusted at the circus our Legislators have made of this war and the disrespect and enmity they have displayed to the Mission our soldiers continue to willingly sacrifice for. 

The debate about how this War started is irrelevant. We should stand together as Americans and see to it that our men and women in the military do not sacrifice in vain. 

I support the Resolution that will be presented to the VT Legislature by David Ayer:

"Whereas, almost two million American military men and women (active guard and reserve), are on duty around the world. Many of them are engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting the "War on Terror"; and 

Whereas, members of the United States military are making considerable personal sacrifice including long separations from their families; and 

Whereas, United States military continues to protect all Americans from those who are avowed enemies.


THAT the Vermont State Legislature declares full support to our troops and their mission in conducting the "War on Terror."

THAT the Vermont State Legislature on behalf of the people of Vermont is on record that we will not abandon our service men and women in this time of war and pledges full support to them and their efforts to secure victory.

THAT the Vermont State Legislature is proud of the sacrifices and bravery of our service men and women and expresses gratitude for their heroic service to the United States of America. 

It is my sincere hope that all will contact their Senators and Representatives and urge them to have the political courage to undo the damage they have done to the spirit and moral of those fighting overseas.

Lynn Baldwin,Chester, VT

Dear Editor: 

The latest Iraq debate is over the so-called "surge" that is being implemented by American forces in the Baghdad area. Is this a path toward success in Iraq, or a senseless escalation of a futile, failed war? . . The U.S. invaded Iraq based on flawed intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s regime [Weapons of Mass Destruction]. That cannot be undone. And while the U.S. military succeeded quickly in deposing Hussein and defeating his armed forces, the post-invasion effort at counter-insurgency has been, at best, a mixed bag. 

Again, we cannot travel back in time and do it over. By introducing over 20,000 additional troops to this embattled region, the goal of the surge is to better provide and maintain a secure environment within which economic and political reform can occur in Iraq . . . good can be achieved only in the environment of peace and security that emerges after hostilities end and the political purpose for war has been achieved. By failing to defeat our enemies expeditiously, insecurity and chaos has been allowed to fester like an open wound in Iraq. The new commander in Iraq [who was favored in vote by all Democratic Senators] Gen. David Petraeus, appears to understand this point. ...
The concept of a surge is not merely the latest concoction of far right neo-cons supposedly behind the methods used to date. For instance, Sen. John McCain supports the troop surge. In the past, he has been willing to question the tactics and strategies employed in Iraq, while resolutely supporting the overall mission and the troops committed to success. He, better than most, understands the repercussions of a lingering, unsuccessful war. [And warned repeatedly of by the Iraq Study Group]. For an in-depth discussion about the surge by Sens. McCain and Joseph Lieberman, you can read their recent comments here in this article

War conjures up strong feelings, as it should. Sacrificing the lives of our fellow citizens and soldiers for the common good should never be a casual choice. War and peace should always be the subject of meaningful debate. At this stage, though, it is important to identify some issues that shouldn't be up for genuine debate. 

First, we should all want the U.S. to prevail. Unfortunately, the rhetoric employed by some suggests that they think it would be a good "lesson" for the U.S. to learn if its military mission in Iraq failed. To believe that is to believe that the U.S. and its proud democratic heritage are not a force for good in the world. 

Second, the primary national security challenge facing our nation is how best to defeat jihadists and terrorists around the globe - especially in the Middle East - so that we do not experience the horror of another September 11. If one denies the gravity of this threat, it is likely impossible to have a rational discussion about successful military policy in Iraq. 

For those opposed to a troop surge in Baghdad, I would ask what alternative plan for victory they would espouse. Certainly, no good option for achieving the goal of a democratic Iraq that is a stabilizing force in the Middle East should be ignored or overlooked. But having no plan is not an option. Instead, complaining about the course being followed without offering an alternative solution offers little if nothing . . We must all demand more from our leaders than that. 

Chris Roy, Williston 

Dear True North Editor: 

Finally, the Vermont Legislature is poised to do something good for the common hoards. After wasting so much time and money on global warming, tax increases, repeal of personal freedoms, etc.,etc.,etc., they are about to grant us the solution to our problem's. We will soon be able to go to the doctor for a pill when we just can't tolerate living here anymore. 

And I just want to let those scoundrels in Montpelier know that my 17-year- old son just enlisted in the Marine Corps, and he is not doing it for them, he is doing it in spite of them!!

And one more thing, the reason the WWII generation was the last great generation is because there the last ones that had the guts to finish the job!!

Gary Murdock, Shoreham

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"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address on January 21, 1961.

"One ought never to turn's one back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger . . Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." Winston Churchill

"I would have voted for the resolution, knowing what I know today, because it was the right thing to do to give the president the authority to confront Saddam Hussein. I think Saddam Hussein was a very serious threat. I stand by that, and that's why we stand behind our vote on the resolution."  Oct 4, 2004 - John Edwards while running for Vice President  but now calling for all Democrats to denounce their 2002 vote for the resolution to war against Saddam Hussein. 

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Where's the Beef?
Caledonian Record Editorial, February 26, 2007

Gov. Jim Douglas is showing more and more impatience with the Legislature's slow pace in moving on the top issues in Vermont voters' minds, the rising cost of education and the soaring property taxes that it drives. Calling it a "slow pace" is a euphemism. There has been no pace at all. Town Meeting Day is a week away and school budgets will go up or down without any input from the Legislature. It has been too busy dealing with important issues, like global warming.

Related: Legislature must shed do-nothing label

A Definitive Reason For Saying No To Assisted Suicide
Caledonian Record Editorial, February 27, 2007

In the two most often cited places where assisted suicide is legally approved, both have seen the best intentions of naive legislators defeated in the actual circumstances of the law. Safeguards in Oregon, like required psychiatric evaluations, have been ignored and the requirement that two doctors agree on the death prognosis has been vacated by pro-suicide groups publishing directories of pro-assisted-suicide lists of doctors who will certify anybody who comes to them. Suicidal people doctor-shop from these lists. In the Netherlands, doctors are already euthanizing children who are damaged when they are born and adults who are incapacitated, but who have not requested assisted suicide. In serious legislative discussion, now, is a move to allow parents to ask for euthanization of children up to 12 years old.

NH Should Look at Vermont's Sensible Budget
By Charles M. Arlinghaus, New Hampshire Union Leader, February 28,2007

THIS YEAR, the governor's budget address included a most sensible proposal to put the state's budget on a path to fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, that budget address was given by Jim Douglas, the prudent governor of Vermont. Douglas' proposals represent perhaps the first time in history Vermont even considered being more fiscally sensible than New Hampshire.

School Choice - An Old Story With A New Ending?
Caledonian Record Editorial, Feb. 28, 2007

The one thing that has reversed the fortunes of kids stuck in inferior schools all over the country has been the institution of parental choice of schools for their kids, with public funds paying the freight. That idea is absolutely intolerable to the NEA and the rest of the public school establishment. But none of them can deny that school choice has been successful in the last places that one would think it could be, in the inner cities where non-performing minority groups have been essentially jailed in lousy schools for generations. Freed to choose, students and parents have thrived

Sex Offender Bill Would Stop Short of Civil Commitment
WCAX TV News, March 1st, 2007

Public Safety Commissioner Kerry Sleeper says he'd rather see civil commitments -- under which offenders could be locked up indefinitely. 

Warning: This May Make You Want to Cry
By Ed Shamy, Burlington Free Press, March 1, 2007

Vermonters are paying each member of our General Assembly $589 per week -- though the leader of each house gets more -- to consider the following absolutely true proposals for new laws. The Agency of Transportation would be required to study what steps should be taken to make lawn mowing safer, particularly for youngsters, and to recommend to the Legislature how children might be properly trained to operate mowers (H. 378). Note that this is the same Agency of Transportation that already has its hands full trying to keep our bridges propped up and our culverts from caving in. …

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From Elsewhere

The Wider War
By Michael A. Ledeen, The Wall Street Journal 

Iran is the keystone of the terrorist edifice. Should there be free elections, no one wearing a turban would be elected to anything, and there is good reason to believe the country is ripe for a pro-Western democratic revolution. (By Subscription only. Click here to search for copies posted elsewhere on the web)

Turn Islam Against Itself
by Herbert London, Insight Magazine - February 26, 2007

But since the American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq a fundamental change has occurred, so fundamental that it may shift the lot of 1.3 billion Muslims across the globe. If as Churchill implied and imams now infer, Islam is a religion based on frenzied fanaticism, a strategy must be adopted to transform Islam—i.e. to alter its focus and neutralize its violent impulses. That strategy—largely ignored by myrmidons in the media world—is to turn Islam against itself. The saber rattling by Ahmadinejad and his desire for a Shia Crescent have mobilized Sunnis from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

Strategies for a Bold Conservative Future
by Richard Viguerie, Conservative Political Action Conference, March 1, 2007

My strong recommendation is for conservatives to stop being an arm of the Republican Party and become a 3rd Force, but not a 3rd Party. The left has had enormous success by building strong 3rd force groups and coalitions. The left has hundreds of environmental groups, consumer groups, civil rights groups, feminist groups, and homosexual groups, etc., etc. And these groups have their own agenda, their own members, their own money, and most importantly they operate independent of the Democratic Party. Conservatives must do the same. No longer think of yourself as a Republican, but as a Reagan conservative. Let’s re-launch the conservative movement.

Enemies of the American Dream
By Ayn Rand Institute, February 27, 2007

"Anyone who claims that in America today it is nearly impossible to improve your economic situation is lying to you. Indeed, the biggest obstacle many Americans face is that very lie--the determinist philosophy that your success or failure is pre-ordained by economic circumstances. Those who accept this philosophy of failure will not be willing to exert the effort, self-discipline, and commitment to self-improvement that success requires. They will be ripe targets for anti-capitalist politicians who sell them on the latest welfare scheme by telling them that their problems are not of their own making, but rather of an overly capitalist system that permits such income inequality.

Labor, Business in Congressional Clash
By William L. Watts, MarketWatch, February 28, 2007

The right of all Americans to cast their vote by private ballot is deeply rooted in the democratic tradition of our nation... Today, House Democrats moved to destroy this principle and it now falls to the U.S. Senate to ensure this basic right is protected.

Related: Union Blues
Philip Klein, The American Spectator, February 26, 2007

The fact that the "card check" legislation would be such a high priority for Democrats should come as no surprise. In the 2006 elections, organized labor gave 87 percent of its political contributions to Democrats, representing $56.8 million.... If unions can reverse their decline as a result of this legislation, it would help cement Democratic control of Congress.

Inconvenient Kyoto Truths
By George F. Will, Newsweek, February 12, 2007

We do not know how much we must change our economic activity to produce a particular reduction of warming. And we do not know whether warming is necessarily dangerous. Over the millennia, the planet has warmed and cooled for reasons that are unclear but clearly were unrelated to SUVs. Was life better when ice a mile thick covered Chicago? Was it worse when Greenland was so warm that Vikings farmed there? Are we sure the climate at this particular moment is exactly right, and that it must be preserved, no matter the cost?

Related: Cap and Charade: The political and business self-interest behind carbon limits

The Most Sweeping Gun Ban Ever Introduced in Congress
Environmental Conservation Organization, February 27, 2007

With the nation's murder rate 43 percent lower than in 1991, and the re-legalized guns still used in only a small percentage of crime, reauthorizing the Clinton Gun Ban would be objectionable enough. But McCarthy's "other purposes" would make matters even worse. H.R. 1022 would ban every gun banned by the Clinton ban, plus millions more guns … 

Selective School Choice
By Clint Bolick, The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2007

There's something about our nation's capital that converts many leading Democrats to school choice. Perhaps it's the glimpse that Washington, D.C. affords into inner-city public schools. But in most cases this appreciation of school choice extends only to their own children -- and not to the millions of children in failing public schools. Indeed, a nearly perfect correlation exists among Democratic presidential candidates who have exercised school choice for their own children and those who would deny such choices to the parents of other children. (By Subscription only. May still be available here without subscribing)

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