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True North Archives - March 23, 2010
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Featured Articles

Visions in Conflict
By Robert Maynard

Utopian visionaries cannot tolerate the whole notion of divided sovereignty, which is not only the basis of our separation of Church and State, but the idea of federalism as well. Power is seen by utopians as a necessary tool to be used by the best and the brightest to socially engineer the perfect society. Power in general, and political power in particular, is seen by those who hold to the constrained vision as a dangerous tool that must be divided up as much as possible so that it not lead to tyranny. Such divisions of power are between the State and Civil Society, between the various branches of government and between the different levels of government. (Local, State and Federal) Power within Civil Society is regulated by moral persuasion and divided up by competition among the various groups for people’s voluntary support. Because Civil Society is based on moral persuasion voluntary cooperation rather than force, it is self-regulating.

Unifying School Choice Out of Existence
By John McClaughry

This proposal, voluntary and democratic as it seems, may not have been designed to extinguish parental choice in Vermont. Or maybe it was. Whatever the motivation, it will over a decade or so almost certainly produce that baneful and reactionary result.

Vermont and Indiana, Redux
By Martin Harris

When a majority of IN voters told their public servants they wanted property taxes capped, they achieved the same house-by-house result as a majority of VT voters signaling their approval for the concept behind Acts 60 and 68: keep my personal cost-of-governance down. The difference is that IN voters thereby demanded overall spending management, while VT voters didn't. Similarly with HSA's, which as established there will result in overall spending management, while the community rating premium system in VT, just like the income-sensitive school spending system, takes the alternative path of approving the costs while insuring that "others" pay the bill for the actual service-users. I'd guess that a modest amount of consistent thinking can be seen in these patterns.

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"Given the importance of the news these days, one might expect ratings for cable news channels to soar. That's true for one particular network, but not the other two. Fox News was recently ranked number two in terms of primetime viewership (just behind USA Network) and number four overall. Alas, the official channel of the Angry Left, MSNBC, ranked 26th in primetime, while CNN didn't even crack the top 30. The Cartoon Network, on the other hand, managed the number 13 slot in primetime, thus proving that Americans prefer animated cartoons to live ones. With that in mind, perhaps CNN could change its name to Cartoon News Network. It would increase viewership and provide truth in labeling at the same time." 

-- The Patriot Post, March 19, 2010

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

What Burton Snowboards’ Decision Means
Politics by Emerson Lynn, Vermont Tiger, March 18, 2010

In the end, costs matter and Burton Snowboards announced Tuesday that it would no longer make snowboards in Vermont – or anywhere else in the United States. Manufacturing is to be moved to China and Austria. The iconic founder of the company, Jake Burton Carpenter, put it succinctly: It costs more to make a snowboard in Vermont than the company can get back in price. The decision will cost 43 Vermonters their jobs.

This is not a story new to Vermont. But our leaders have routinely played them down as being the exception, not the rule. And, in the past, they have pointed to companies like Burton Snowboards as being proof that a company can not only survive here, but thrive, parenthetically insinuating that others could too, if they just would. This is the same game being played with the periodic example of Vermont’s wealthy leaving the state for more favorable tax climes elsewhere. It’s easier to pretend the issue doesn’t exist rather than to address the core issues involved.

Weekly Unemployment Claims Increase
From Vermont Business Magazine, March 17, 2010

Weekly unemployment claims increased last week after a steep decline the previous week. For the week of March 13, 2010, there were 1,074 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, an increase of 177 from the week before. Altogether 15,124 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 339 from a week ago and 3,498 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 4,588 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 59 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 3,370 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is a decrease of 19 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at:

Vermont Senate President Peter Shumlin Caught Lying to the American People on Fox News
By Rod Adams, Atomic Insights, March 15, 2010

Several weeks ago, Vermont Senate President Peter Shumlin called a vote of the Vermont Senate on whether or not to give the Public Service Commission permission to issue a certificate of public good for the continued operation of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. One of the premises underlying the decision that the Senate made to refuse that permission was that there were other available sources of power that could replace the plant's output. ...

The video above is a clear demonstration that Vermont Senator Peter Shumlin, at the very least, did not take the time to be reasonably well informed about energy before calling the vote in his legislative body. Despite repeated opportunities to "take a lookup" (that is the way that we answer in my profession if we are asked a question where we are not sure of the answer) Shumlin repeated that Germany gets 30% of its electricity from solar energy. When told that Wikipedia has a statistic of 1% with an eventual goal of 25% by 2050, he dismissed that as "that's Wikipedia" as if the answer was completely wrong.

Related Articles:

Open letter to Sen. Shumlin

Vermont's Utilities Chief Stresses Value of Yankee

Vt., Quebec Partner Up to Cleanup Lake Champlain
From WCAX-TV, March 15, 2010

From the economy, to the environment, to power, Vermont and the state's largest trading partner Quebec are teaming up to make some big changes, including cleaning up Lake Champlain.

Are Bunk Beds Next?
Caledonia Record Editorial, March 22, 2010

The Vermont Education Department has just announced to school officials and others that money is now available to provide supper to school-age children. Vermont is one of only 13 states and the District of Columbia to participate in the Area Eligible Afterschool Supper Pilot program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Oh good! One more benefit given to us from the Great Nanny State of Vermont at the generous hands of the Great-Granny Nanny United States government.

Underfunding or Overspending?
By Chris Campion, Vermont Tiger, March 21, 2010

This is simply another bailout pitched to states that are overspending, and while none of our three Congressmen were going to vote against any kind of health care bill, Vermont is probably bought off a bit more easily than Utah, Nebraska, or Louisiana, considering our population headcount.  100 million is about 8% of the FY10 appropriation - which would be fantastic and all, if:

a) part of the 100 million wasn't the result of Vermont paying federal income taxes, and b) the other part of the 100 million wasn't dollars borrowed from foreign creditors.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Jihadism: The Grassroots Paradox
By Scott Stewart, Strategic Forecasters, March 18, 2010

This decentralization means grassroots operatives will continue to be a concern. The problems posed by such operatives are illustrated by recent cases involving American citizens like Colleen LaRose (aka Jihad Jane), Jamie Paulin-Ramirez and Sharif Mobley, who are all alleged to have been involved in recent jihadist plots. As blonde Caucasian women, LaRose and Paulin-Ramirez, in particular, do not fit the jihadist operative stereotype in most people’s minds and serve to illustrate the difficulty of creating a terrorist profile based on race, ethnicity or gender.

But decentralization can also mean diminished capability. Counseling jihadists against traveling to training camps in places like Pakistan or Yemen and advising them not to coordinate their attacks with others will increase a group’s operational security, but it can also have a serious impact on its operational effectiveness. Traditionally, one of the biggest problems for lone-wolf operators is acquiring the skills necessary to conduct a successful terrorist attack. Even though many Web sites and military manuals can provide instruction on such things as hand-to-hand combat and marksmanship, there is no substitute for hands-on experience in the real world. This is especially true when it comes to the more subtle skills required to conduct a complex terrorist attack, such as planning, surveillance and bomb making. This difficulty in translating intent into effective action explains why so few lone-wolf militants have been able to pull off spectacular, mass-casualty attacks.

Taliban Commanders Given Training in Iran: Report
From Yahoo News, March 21, 2010

Hundreds of insurgents have been trained in Iran to kill NATO forces in Afghanistan, two Taliban commanders told a British Sunday newspaper. The unnamed commanders told The Sunday Times that Iranian officials paid them to attend three-month courses in desert training camps in southeast Iran.

Updates on the Feast of Fire Celebration and the Iranian People’s Protests Against the Regime
From Family Security Matters, March 17, 2010

As the Iranian people get ready to celebrate the annual ritual of the Feast of Fire (background information here), the regime is stepping up its efforts to suppress dissent. Below are a number of examples of their ham-fisted attempts to deny the people their voice.

Senior Official: Al-Qaida leader Believed Killed
By Lolita C. Baldor and Matt Apuzzo, Forbes Magazine, March 17, 2010

An al-Qaida leader believed to have played a key role in the bombing of a CIA post in Afghanistan last December was apparently killed by an American missile strike last week, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

The counterterrorism official said Hussein al-Yemeni was believed killed in a strike in Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

Final Destination Iran?
By Rob Edwards, The Scotland Herald, March 14, 2010

Hundreds of powerful US "bunker-buster" bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 "Blu" bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.

Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.

America's Shiny New Palestinian Militia
By Daniel Pipes, Family Security Matters, March 17, 2010

"The stupidest program the U.S. government has ever undertaken" – last year that's what I called American efforts to improve the Palestinian Authority (PA) military force. Slightly hyperbolic, yes, but the description fits because those efforts enhance the fighting power of enemies of the United States and its Israeli ally.

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From Elsewhere

Health Care Debate Or Proxy Fight Over Government's Rightful Role?
By Raghavan Mayur, Investor’s Business Daily, March 16, 2010

What's driving passions right now," President Obama said last fall on CBS' "Face the Nation," "is that health care has become a proxy for a broader set of issues about how much government should be involved in the economy."

The president was indeed accurate in his description of the debate. It is a proxy fight between statists and a government-weary public.

Related Issues:

SC AG Again Promises to Challenge Health Care Bill

Cramer: ObamaCare Would Rocket Tax Rates to 50-60%

Media Duped by Phony Savings Estimate

Executive Order Hijinks

Reading the Tea Party Leaves
The tea partiers aren’t radicals; they’re one side of an old debate that is far from over.
By Jonah Goldberg, National Review, March 17, 2010

The Boston Tea Party would make a strange lodestar for an anti-American movement. The tea partiers certainly aren’t "dropping out" of the system; if they were, we wouldn’t be talking about them. And they aren’t reading Marxist tracts in a desire to "tear down the system" either. They’re reading Thomas Paine, the founders, and Friedrich Hayek in the perhaps naïve hope that they’ll be able to restore the principles that are supposed to be guiding the system. (To the extent they’re reading radicals such as Saul Alinsky, it’s because they’ve been told that’s the best way to understand his disciple in the White House.)

Restoration and destruction are hardly synonymous terms or desires. And maybe that’s a better label for the tea parties: a political restoration movement, one that reflects our Constitution and the precepts of limited government.

In Denial
The meltdown of the climate campaign.
By Steven F. Hayward, The Weekly Standard, March 15, 2010

It is increasingly clear that the leak of the internal emails and documents of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in November has done for the climate change debate what the Pentagon Papers did for the Vietnam war debate 40 years ago—changed the narrative decisively. Additional revelations of unethical behavior, errors, and serial exaggeration in climate science are rolling out on an almost daily basis, and there is good reason to expect more.

We Will Show Them in November What Liberty Means
By Bill Bennett, National Review, March 9, 2010

Abraham Lincoln said that among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet. I have that in mind this morning as I think of its corollary: When our elected leaders so flout the will of the people and play games in order to do so, nothing can prove as powerful as the use of the ballot — and in eight months we will show our elected leaders just that.

Stocks Climb after Fed Pledges to Hold Rates Low
By Tim Paradis, Forbes Magazine, March 17, 2010

The stock market has a new formula for success: a slow and steady trek higher. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 48 points Wednesday in its seventh straight advance to close at a new high for 2010. The gain means the Dow has joined the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite index in reaching the best levels since 2008.

Voter Backlash Beyond ObamaCare
By Rosslyn Smith, American Thinker, March 22, 2010

Voter anger is building on issues beyond ObamaCare. The large group of people already angry over runaway spending and ObamaCare are now being joined by those angry at the EPA for moving forward with controls on greenhouse gases without congressional action -- and without considering the economic impact on the economy. Like the Tea Party movement, this group cuts across geographical and political lines.

A bipartisan mix of eighteen governors signed a letter to congressional leaders last week. This move is supported by Washington Democrats such as Senator Jay Rockefeller and the Democrat congressmen from the eastern coal mining region. Rockefeller is calling for a two-year suspension of EPA greenhouse gas regulations. The co-sponsors in the House include Nick Rahall and Alan B. Mollohan, also of West Virginia, and Rick Boucher of Virginia. Several Republican congressmen and senators are in favor of similar legislation.

The Doctors of the House
A landmark of liberal governance whose price will be very steep.
Wall Street Journal Editorial, March 22, 2010 ramming the vote through Congress on a narrow partisan majority, and against so much popular opposition, Democrats have taken responsibility for what comes next -- to insurance premiums, government spending, doctor shortages and the quality of care.

My Thoughts on Watching the Dems Stab the Constitution on the Congressional Floor
By Ben Stein, American Spectator, March 22, 2010

This is a "bill" that is clearly not really a Constitutionally allowable legislative entity, eligible for signature into law. For it to be that, it would need to be identically passed in both houses. It was not.

Without Recourse
By Stacy Cline, American Spectator, March 22, 2010

Our Constitution was elegantly designed to protect individuals from too much concentration of power in any one source, but the Supreme Court has evolved into a body that has protected and even facilitated the modern regulatory state at the expense of our founding principles.

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