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True North Archives - April 15, 2008
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Vermont’s Five-Year Plan for Governing the Free Enterprise Economy
By Martin Harris

Against that track record of the best and brightest (just ask them) in government across the centuries and across the globe, dexterously planning and managing free enterprise when- and wherever it erupts, comes the long-awaited news that even little Montpelier, capital of the nation’s second-smallest state, will now take on the same intellectual challenge. Here’s the language, contained in their Five Year Plan (Freudian slip?) for a new Commission on Economic Development which will, among other things "cooperatively plan the free enterprise economy of Vermont". How blessed the Green Mountain State is, to have such brilliantly superior, highly motivated, intellectually innovative folks under the Golden Dome. None of us minor members of the Fourth Estate could ever make this stuff up.

Mapping a Successful Strategy for Vermont Conservatism
By N. P. West

The success of Vermont conservatism depends on its ability to replicate the model of the national conservative movement.  This model follows three phases: an intellectual development phase, an institutional development phase, and an electoral development phase.  Each is designed to be a step in the process for conservative victory in Vermont.  Without this model the conservative movement could very well continue to flounder.

The Momentum Must be Kept UP
By Rob Skinner

While speaking to Lou Dobbs on his CNN nightly political talk show March 27, CNN's military analyst, General David Grange said President Bush was correct to say (while at the Air Force Museum in Ohio) that Al Qaeda's grip on Baghdad and Iraq was broken. When Dobbs asked the general to comment on President Bush's assessment of success, of "positive results" in Iraq Grange said, "Well I think throughout most of Iraq that is true . . . but the momentum [the surge] must be kept up because they'll come back into any crack that seen is available. Any situation down in Basra will cause them to react somewhere else. You'll have second and third order affects where any of these things that start to break down - An Bar Province, Basra or in Baghdad itself."

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Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
-- President Ronald Reagan

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Symington A Welcome Addition To The Governor’s Race
Caledonia Record Editorial, April 08, 2008

Put simply, state government has outgrown the current tax revenues used to pay for its operation. Vermonters must choose the state's future path. The state can reduce the scope and cost of government and the programs and services offered and reduce tax burdens on its citizens, or at least keep the burden at its present level. The state can choose, instead, to continue on its present path and expand the programs and services offered to Vermonters and increase taxes to pay for the growth of government. The state can grow the economy and increase the tax base, increasing the state's tax base and expanding the scope of government and increasing the state's taxable base enough to pay for the growth without sharply increasing individual tax burdens.

Knocking Off Early
From,  April 12, 2008

Ms. Symington proposes an early adjournment. Splendid idea. Why didn't someone think of this before now? Well, er, actually someone did.  But that was back when the future looked bright with potential. Bills for fighting global warming, reforming campaign financing, making housing more affordable, etc. etc.  They would stay at it, legislators vowed, until their urgent work was done. Well, now that there is no money and they are obliged to cut spending, seems they cannot get out of town fast enough.

High School Seniors Get 'F' in Finance
By Jeannine Aversa, Associated Press, April 9, 2008

Young people's financial know-how has gone from bad to worse. High school seniors, on average, answered correctly only 48.3 percent of questions about personal finance and economics, according to a nationwide survey released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve. That was even lower than the 52.4 percent in the previous survey in 2006 and marked the worst score out of the six surveys conducted so far.

No Growth No Way
From, April 11, 2008

There is nothing wrong with environmentalists being part of the discussion. They should be. But there needs to be a balance of influence. Currently, there is not. Vermonters are paying the price for that imbalance when it comes to affordable housing; the more difficult it is to build, the more expensive it is to buy. It’s just that simple.

Horatio At Our Bridge
Caledonia Record Editorial, April 11, 2008

Though badly outnumbered by the liberal leftists, Gov. Jim Douglas has been Horatio at our Bridge. At the end of the last Legislature, Douglas vetoed two of the dumbest ideas to emerge from the leftists. One was the half-baked proposal to set up yet another government agency, still undefined then, to somehow improve Vermont's private sector utility use and pay for it with extorted funds from Entergy, the owner/operator of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The second was to reform campaign financing with a plan that had already been found unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court at great expense to Vermont.

The High Cost Of High Costs
From, April 07, 2008

Why -- with Vermont taxing robustly -- isn't there any money to do any of the things that need to be done?  Because Vermont spends over half of the money collected in state and local taxes on K through 12 education.  According to U.S. Census figures, the state spent some $12,600 per student in 2005-06.  (Which put us in 4th place behind New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.)

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Iran's Busted Iraq Bid
Basra 'Rising' was Tehran's Op
By Amir Taheri, The New York Post, April 10, 2008

A GAMBLE that proved too costly. 

That's how analysts in Tehran describe events last month in Basra. Iran's state-run media have de facto confirmed that this was no spontaneous "uprising." Rather, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) tried to seize control of Iraq's second-largest city using local Shiite militias as a Trojan horse. Tehran's decision to make the gamble was based on three assumptions: 

* Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wouldn't have the courage to defend Basra at the risk of burning his bridges with the Islamic Republic in Iran. 

* The international force would be in no position to intervene in the Basra battle. The British, who controlled Basra until last December, had no desire to return, especially if this meant getting involved in fighting. The Americans, meanwhile, never had enough troops to finish off al-Qaeda-in-Iraq, let alone fight Iran and its local militias on a new front. 

* The Shiite clerical leadership in Najaf would oppose intervention by the new Iraqi security forces in a battle that could lead to heavy Shiite casualties. 

Fighting Global Islamist Ideology the Key to War on Terror
By Steven Emerson, IPT News, April 10, 2008

Al Qaeda is clearly the most significant operational terrorist threat to this country, but it must be seen in the context of what drives it – an extremist ideology based on a puritanical interpretation of Islam. The biggest flaw in this nation's national security policy is that it is focused specifically on countering acts of terrorism and not countering the Islamist worldwide ideology that has spawned al Qaeda.

Report on Sept. 6 Strike to Show Saddam Transferred WMDs to Syria
By Staff, The Jerusalem Post, April 7, 2008

An upcoming joint US-Israel report on the September 6 IAF strike on a Syrian facility will claim that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein transferred weapons of mass destruction to the country, Channel 2 stated Monday. 

Furthermore, according to a report leaked to the TV channel, Syria has arrested 10 intelligence officials following the assassination of Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh. 

Petraeus, Crocker and Mike Monsoor
By Roger D. Carstens, Human Events

GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: First of all, Congress, let me tell you that what we are fighting for is national interests. It is interests that, as I stated, have to do with al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States and the free world.

"It has to do with the possible spread of sectarian conflict in Iraq, a conflict that had engulfed that country and had it on the brink of civil war.

"It has to do with regional stability of a region that is of critical importance to the global economy.

"And it has to do with certainly the influence of Iran, another obviously very important element in that region.

"In terms of what it is that we are trying to achieve, I think simply it is a country that is at peace with itself and its neighbors.

Capitalizing on al Qaeda's Mistakes
By Colonel Mark Cancian, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine, April, 2008

Al Qaeda is well aware of these weaknesses in its strategies, and people who follow their Web sites report much hand wringing. Osama bin Laden himself has conceded that mistakes were made and exhorts his followers to greater efforts. Outsiders might observe that AQI should alter its behavior to gain adherents. But it can't. The Sharia, the yearning for the Caliphate, the hatred of its enemies, and the global—and hence foreign—leadership define al Qaeda as a movement.

Despite these weaknesses and country-wide reverses, al Qaeda remains a ruthless and dangerous foe. It retains strength inside Iraq and still has broad global appeal. Nevertheless, it has clear and substantial vulnerabilities that the United States has exploited in Iraq and may be able to exploit elsewhere. Past success in capitalizing on these weaknesses should also give the West some encouragement for the long war against Islamic extremism. Just as the Cold War was fundamentally a long-term but winnable ideological struggle, so, too, is this one.

European Value Revival?
By Daniel Pipes, American Conservative Union, April 9, 2008

Some analysts of Islam in Western Europe argue that the continent cannot escape its Eurabian fate; that the trend lines of the past half-century will continue until Muslims become a majority population and Islamic law (the Shari‘a) reigns.

I disagree, arguing that there is another route the continent might take, one of resistance to Islamification and a reassertion of traditional ways. Indigenous Europeans – who make up 95 percent of the population – can insist on their historic customs and mores. Were they to do so, nothing would be in their way and no one could stop them.

Indeed, Europeans are visibly showing signs of impatience with creeping Shari‘a. The legislation in France that prohibits hijabs from public school classrooms signals the reluctance to accept Islamic ways, as are related efforts to ban burqas, mosques, and minarets. Throughout Western Europe, anti-immigrant parties are generally increasing in popularity.

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From Elsewhere

The Oil Connection
By John Robinson, American Thinker, April 13, 2008

A recent piece of news has shed new light on what could be another storm for both the Clintons. Like an old shipwreck, the crashing waves are slowly revealing more from beneath the sand. Recently, we were treated to the revelation that an agent of Saddam Hussein's essentially financed a junket to visit Iraq before the war and complain about the sanctions' effect on the poor Iraqi children.

(Let's forget for a moment that it turned out that Saddam was actually engaged in a vast criminal enterprise through the oil-for-food program, and was essentially starving his "poor Iraqi children" for PR reasons.) Matt Apuzzo of the AP writes:

Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.

Economic Hysteria
By Alan Reynolds, The Cato Institute

Media hysteria over the mortgage crisis is almost certainly misleading countless people about prospects for the real economy. The US economy is likely in recession. Yet even that conclusion may be premature — it rests on a short sample of slim evidence. Industrial production has fallen for only one month. First-time claims for unemployment insurance touched recession levels for just one week.

The Coming Tax Bomb
By John F. Cogan and R. Glenn Hubbard, The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2008

As the presidential campaign enters its final stages, there will be increased debate over budget priorities and how they will be paid for. Many commentators and political leaders, including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, believe that tax increases are needed to restore near-term budget balance and finance longer-term entitlement growth. These claims fail budget arithmetic and economics. Worse, they raise serious questions about the nation's broad fiscal policies and its commitment to economic growth.

Obama Draws Fire for Comments on Small-Town America
By, April 11, 2008

Hillary Clinton and John McCain both ripped into Barack Obama Friday for reportedly saying residents of small-town America "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them" out of bitterness over lost jobs. His opponents interpreted the remarks as arrogant, but Obama stood by the statement Friday and even elaborated on the argument that many people in small towns are bitter and frustrated with the status quo in Washington.

Related: The Mask Slips

Why We'll Still Need to Lead
By Kim R. Holmes, The Heritage Foundation, April 9, 2008

In America, there are basically two competing visions. One -- based on our history and the ideas and founding principles embodied in our Constitution -- is of a nation that safeguards and advances the cause of liberty. The other is of an America whose leadership always defers to international bodies, including the whims of the United Nations and the European Union. All Americans should reflect on this: If we do not take up the burden of leadership, who will? And, who would we rather have make decisions over our lives?

Oil Drilling America
By Deroy Murdock, Human Events, April 11, 2008

How much more pain must Americans endure before our masters in Washington let oil companies punch a few holes in the Alaskan tundra? Must we shiver pennilessly in the dark before we may extract new domestic petroleum deposits? Or shall we simply keep buying $111 barrels of oil from people who want us dead?

Reward our Friends, Punish our Enemies
Why does Congress want to give Hugo Chavez an upper hand?
By Senator Lindsey Graham, National Review Online, April 14, 2008

No one would enjoy watching the U.S. abandon Colombia more than Hugo Chavez and new Cuban President Raul Castro. ... Why would we want to give them the political upper hand by rejecting the Colombia TPA?

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