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True North Archives - April 08, 2008
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Featured Articles

The Green Police State
By John McClaughry

It's about time Vermonters woke up to the astonishing breadth, depth, and cost of the Shumlin-VPIRG grand Green plan for our state. If fully carried out, the prescription contained in the initial and current versions of S.350 will leave the state a politically correct arcadia for affluent Greenies who want to feel good about themselves. The rest of us will have to move on, if we can.
Our Rights
By Karen Kerin

Legal terms have been identified, but now it is time to look more closely at rights. Most people are familiar with part of the First Amendment, but have lost all memory of the last of the five parts. "Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people…to petition the government for a redress of grievances". Where on earth did this come from?

Diogenes Seeking the Productivity-Enhancing Educator
By Martin Harris

And if you’re the American Legislative Exchange Council, recognized as non-partisan such matters, you’ll editorialize that "Vermont Ranks 3rd in National Survey; Spending Increases Overshadow Student Performance". That was the headline of a press release announcing the publication of their annual Report Card on American Education. To its credit, ALEC dares raise the usually-left-unspoken cost-benefit question, but to its discredit, it chooses not to raise the question of how worthless a "third" ranking is, when it is achieved with such dismal test scores. So, research into educational productivity (or non-) still needs its Diogenes with a lantern. Please note: to avoid disappointment, don’t quiz your recent high school grad on this historical reference.

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"Socialism in America will come through the ballot box."

-- Gus Hall (October 8, 1910 – October 13, 2000) was a leader of the Communist Party USA and its four-time U.S. presidential candidate.

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Big Oil Who?
From April 04, 2008

Hum.  Looks like "Big Oil" is owned by - well, by us, the people.  And the profits benefit mostly us, the people. Unless of course you've been betting against oil? And you don't have an IRA, or a pension, or any shares in a mutual fund.  Most Vermonter's are insiders on the truth of peak oil and Al Gore and would never bet against oil... never... so now that we've all gotten fat on oil profits, the State wants to come along and cut itself a piece, as if it doesn't already take more than its fair share. And speaking of fair shares, lets take a look at the actual distribution of an oil dollar:

Making Policy By Sticky Dots
From April 02, 2008

Meanwhile, in 2008, the rest of the world is feverishly building nuclear power plants, upgrading those already in existence, and reprocessing spent fuel to keep the reactors running. France is getting some 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants. In Japan, it is about 1/3rd.  The  Vermont Yankee nuclear plant generates about that proportion of the electricity consumed in Vermont. But while Japan is building more plants, Vermont debates closing down Yankee. This debate is never-ending and sometimes seems almost theological in nature. That is -- more about faith than reason. Most of the people who came to the Holiday Inn were not there to discuss the finer points of nuclear engineering and technology. They had come to express their "concerns."

Vermonters Talk About Economic Woes
From WCAX-TV, April 5, 2008

There's more evidence that the American economy is putting the squeeze on the middle class. Senator Bernie Sanders took personal testimony from many Vermonters who are concerned about their financial futures. Housing prices have skyrocketed over the last thirty years. But even this symbol of the rising middle class has a downside. "The reality is that the middle class has been shrinking for many, many years," Sanders told a gathering he convened at Montpelier High School on Saturday. "It's not a new phenomenon, it did not happen two days ago with the foreclosure crisis."

Paying Taxes For Those Who Don’t
Caledonia Record Editorial,April 1, 2008

How much is the state losing because of current use enrollments? How much money does the average working Vermonter with a modest property have to pony up to fill the shortfall resulting from current use? According to a press release issued by the Vermont Natural Resources Council, an environmental lobbying group, 40 percent of all eligible forest land is now enrolled in current use. Three quarters of Vermont's dairy farms are enrolled in the program. One third of Vermont's total land area, two million acres in 15,000 parcels, is enrolled in current use. Enrolling property in current use helped property owners avoid $39.5 million dollars in taxes in 2007, according to the VNRC.

Add up the $39.5 million dollars Vermonters had to pay in additional taxes to make up for the taxes avoided by property owners in current use, and its no wonder taxes are so high in Vermont. Add the extra municipal taxes paid by residents to make up for the shortfall in state reimbursement to municipalities for state-owned land and its little wonder Vermonters are asking how long they can afford to live in their homes.

Judge Throws Out Democrats' Election Lawsuit
From WCAX-TV, April 2, 2008

After nearly three hours of testimony, Judge Dennis Pearson dismissed the Democrats' lawsuit, and after discussing the specifics of the case, explained why. "The court needs to be mindful of the political process and not interject itself into the process any more than is absolutely necessary," he said.

VPIRG soliciting 'big money' for 'reform'
By Rob Roper, The Rutland Herald, April 2, 2008

The campaign finance bill that the Legislature is ready to send to Gov. James Douglas' desk (S.278) encapsulates everything that is wrong with Montpelier these days. It is a partisan waste of time and money, does more harm than good to ordinary people, and is a priority issue only to a handful of insider elites and special interest groups.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Iraq and Its Costs
By Joe Lieberman & Lindsey Graham, Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2008

It is unfortunate that so many opponents of the surge still refuse to acknowledge the gains we have achieved in Iraq. When Gen. Petraeus testifies this week, however, the American people will have a clear choice as we weigh the future of our fight there: between the general who is leading us to victory, and the critics who spent the past year predicting defeat.

Chinese Police Fire into Crowd of Tibetan Monks – Again
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, April 05, 2008

Perhaps gunning down unarmed monks can be added as an Olympic sport. The Chinese, so concerned about the games later in the summer, could solve their "image problem" by simply including the practice in the Olympic program. This would result in a sure gold medal for the home team.

Related: Cultural Autonomy for Tibet

The Muslim Students Association and the Jihad Network
From March 31, 2008

The following essay, adapted from the Introduction to this booklet, shows how, as early as the 1980s, operatives from the Muslim Brotherhood, parent group for al Qaeda and Hamas, formulated a blueprint for a "jihadist process" that would ultimately sabotage the "miserable house" of the United States. These Muslim Brotherhood operatives saw that the work of undermining the U.S. could be best accomplished by the use of front groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Students Association. But while CAIR was designed to work in the legal-cultural realm, posturing as another of the minority rights groups functioning in the public square, the MSA's role was to be restricted to college campuses, where it would advance the cause of radical Islam and lead the effort to stigmatize Israel.

A look at Operation Knights' Assault

By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, April 4, 2008

Eleven days after Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki launched Operation Knights' Assault in Basrah, the picture of the fighting in the city has become clearer. Maliki launched the operation after giving limited notice to Multinational Forces Iraq, and an inexperienced Iraqi Army brigade from the newly formed 14th Division cracked doing the opening days of the fighting. Basrah Operational Command rushed in forces into Basrah, including Army and elite police units, to stabilize the fighting, and six days after the operation began, Muqtada al Sadr ordered his Mahdi Army to stand down in Basrah, Baghdad, and the South.

AQ's al Zawahiri: next year in Jerusalem
By Thomas Lifson, American Thinker, April 04, 2008

Al-Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri released an internet video where he said that after the US leaves Iraq (The Obama Plan) Al-Qaeda will proceed from there and take Jerusalem.

Israel, US to Coordinate Boycott of Durban II
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, April 04, 2008

The first Durban conference was a disaster. Instead of discussing racism, the delegates and NGO's in attendance turned the meeting into an anti-Israel and anti-American free for all. It got so bad that the United States delegation walked out of the UN sponsored proceedings. This time, the US and Israel wish to avoid that kind of nonsense and are working together to see if some kind of accomodation can be reached prior to the meeting:

Jihad Comes to Wall Street
By Alex Alexiev, National Review

"Sharia finance" does exactly what it promises, financing the spread of sharia — and terror 

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From Elsewhere

The Marxist Roots of Black Liberation Theology
By Anthony B. Bradley, The Acton Institute, April 02, 2008

The echoes of Cone's theology bleed through the now infamous, anti-Hilary excerpt by Rev. Wright. Clinton is among the oppressing class ("rich white people") and is incapable of understanding oppression ("ain't never been called a n-gg-r") but Jesus knows what it was like because he was "a poor black man" oppressed by "rich white people." While Black Liberation Theology is not main stream in most black churches, many pastors in Wright's generation are burdened by Cone's categories, which laid the foundation for many to embrace Marxism and a distorted self-image of the perpetual "victim."

     Black Liberation Theology as Marxist Victimology

Black Liberation Theology actually encourages a victim mentality among blacks. John McWhorters' book Losing the Race, will be helpful here. Victimology, says McWhorter, is the adoption of victimhood as the core of one's identity -- for example, like one who suffers through living in "a country and who lived in a culture controlled by rich white people." It is a subconscious, culturally inherited affirmation that life for blacks in America has been in the past and will be in the future a life of being victimized by the oppression of whites. In today's terms, it is the conviction that, 40 years after the Civil Rights Act, conditions for blacks have not substantially changed. As Wright intimates, for example, scores of black men regularly get passed over by cab drivers.

Related: Obama May Not Have Fully Contained Damage From Ex-Pastor

Human Rights, Limited Government, and Capitalism
Erich Weede, The Cato Institute, Winter, 2008

In this article, I argue that a short list of merely "negative" or protective human rights, which can be implemented, is preferable to a long list of "negative" and "positive" or entitlement rights, because the fulfillment of the latter requires an infringement of the former. Indeed, only a narrow focus on negative rights is compatible with a free economy, which alone provides the means to fund the material well-being of the masses—the objective of positive rights. Funding entitlements, however, undermines the viability of a free economy and thus appears self-destructive.

Kelo, M.I.A. Where is the property-rights campaign debate?
By Ilya Somin, National Review, April 2, 2008

The Supreme Court’s Kelo decision in 2005 generated a massive political backlash. Kelo v. City of New London endorsed the condemnation of private property for transfer to other private owners in order to promote "economic development." Polls showed that 80 to 90 percent of the public opposed such takings. Oddly, however, we’ve heard almost nothing of this broadly popular issue from the presidential campaigns.

The Union Agenda
By Kimberley A. Strassel, The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2008

Republicans are gleeful about these divides, but the guys grinning widest are union bosses. They understood long ago what even today the GOP and the business community have yet to grasp. This election is their best shot in a half-century of making over Washington. Not everyone is thrilled with a Clinton or an Obama, but this matters little next to the big prize. As Gerald McEntee, the savvy head of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, succinctly put it, Big Labor is looking for a "trifecta" – the Oval Office, the House and a filibuster-proof Senate. And after that, the biggest rewrite of labor law in modern America.

The Chickens of Identity Politics Come Home to Roost?
By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

This is what the triangulation of Obama has helped to unleash: most Americans will now doubt the moral authority of the African-American intellectual and religious community not just to question the questionable racial remarks of a Bill Clinton, Ed Rendell, or Geraldine Ferraro, but also the Wright-like crudity of a Don Imus or a Michael Richards. Context is now king.

Barr Bid Could Hurt McCain
By Stephen Dinan and Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times, April 3, 2008

Can a conservative former congressman who helped impeach President Clinton, is a board member of the National Rifle Association and has done contract work with the ACLU dent Sen. John McCain's presidential bid? That's exactly what Mr. McCain would face if Bob Barr, the former Republican who joined the Libertarian Party two years ago, wins his adopted party's presidential nomination.

The Colombia Trade Stakes
By Condoleezza Rice, The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2008

It is not every day that our government, with one bold stroke, could strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. workers; support a democratic ally on the cusp of achieving lasting national success; weaken those who would sow instability and autocracy in our hemisphere; and send an unequivocal signal to the entire world that the United States is a confident, capable global leader that acts not only in its own interest, but in the interest of its friends.

Clinton Tax Lessons
Wall Street Journal Editorial, April 7, 2008

Senator Clinton's main tax proposal is to repeal the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, raising rates to the levels of the Clinton Presidency. "We didn't ask for George Bush's tax cuts. We didn't want them, and we didn't need them," Mrs. Clinton explained.

Obama's Capital Loss
Wall Street Journal Editorial, April 5, 2008

Barack Obama recently released his tax records, and it was notable how little he and his wife appear to invest in the stock market. That may explain the Senator's odd belief that a significant hike in the capital gains tax rate won't matter to shareholders or harm the economy.

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