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True North Archives - May 04, 2010
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Featured Articles

Freedom, Truth and President Obama
By Robert Maynard

President Obama is not alone in his view that our experiment in ordered liberty rests in a rejection of absolute, or "self-evident" truths. This is a fundamental assumption of much of academia. It is also a major reason why many judicial theorists have rejected the "original intent" interpretation of the constitution in favor of their own pet theories. They see themselves as more "enlightened" and thus have a better grasp of how to preserve our liberty. Of course those of us who still see the notion of self-evident truths and the Natural Law philosophy from which this notion sprang as a needed foundation for freedom, will insist on sticking to original intent. This is a distinction that should be kept in mind during the selection process for our next Supreme Court Justice unfolds.

Vermont's Looming Energy Sinkhole
By John McClaughry

A sizable and vocal group of Vermonter activists can't wait to see the legislature shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Alas, they have no idea how to replace its energy and economic contribution to the state.

Voting Yankee off the island will not get rid of the need for the 285 megawatts of dependable base load power that it delivers to Vermont utilities each year at bargain prices. Despite over $30 million extracted each year from electric ratepayers to finance Efficiency Vermont, energy savings from conservation are not likely to cancel the growth in electricity consumption as the region emerges from the recession. Tell us again, where will that energy come from?

Human Rights on Wheels
By Martin Harris

As an (amateur) student of history, I must admit that being on the right side of history (i.e., attuned to the long-term trends) seems to mean being on the Left side, in the sense that the list of human-rights-guaranteed-by-government has grown inexorably in modern times, and the growth of government has historically been a Leftist objective. Sometimes they’ve arrived one at a time –women’s suffrage, for example—and occasionally in bunches – three of the Four Freedoms of FDR were new ones, for example—and sometimes they’re just a more generous form of a previously recognized new right –housing, for example. Medical services have Progressed (choice of verb has political identification) from voluntary charity to mandatory entitlement in recent decades. All have in common dependence on the broad-based tax; or, if you prefer the original doctrine in translation from the Russian "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". Each new right used to be pretty basic –the Second Amendment, for example, or the Seventh (explain to your young civics student that the first guarantees the individual right to own and use his own weapon, and the second guarantees the right to a jury of his peers should he get into legal troubles) and some of them used to be half entitlement and half user-fee based (public education in Vermont, for example) but more recently some of them are getting, dare I say, a bit frivolous. Like bike bridges.

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"Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or "ism," any tyrannical consistency…"

-- from Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Vermont's High Cost Highlighted in New Report
From Denton Publications, April 23, 2010

Vermonters who rent live in the fifteenth least affordable state in the nation, according to a new report jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based housing advocacy group, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

For Vermont's renters, the news isn't good. Rural Vermont ranks in the top 10 most expensive rural areas in the nation.

Vermont Yankee Refueling Refuels Vermont's Economy
From WCAX, April 26, 2010

Vermont Yankee began its scheduled re-fueling shutdown. It happens about every 18 months at the nuclear plant and gives local businesses a boost.

Downtown Brattleboro is hopping for a Monday.

"First of all, just take a look at what is going on Main Street right now. It is incredible," said Jerry Goldberg of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce.

The influx of traffic is partially due to the refueling outage at Vermont Yankee. Entergy brings in upwards of 1,000 people for the month-long shutdown, which is a shot in the arm for the region's economy.

Experts Predict Sharp rise in Vermont Electric Rates
Nuke plant closing means bad news for state economy
From Denton Publications, April 26, 2010

Speaking at a Montpelier energy forum April 22, several energy experts described in detail the electric transmission challenges, job and economic losses, and electricity rate increases that are likely to result if Vermont Yankee closes in 2012.

Union Rules ... Rule
By Jack Harding, Vermont Tiger, April 27, 2010

But it may be changing.  The ice is thawing in CA where Democrat Mickey Kaus takes his party to task for allowing the unions to bankrupt the state in return for their powerful voting cartel. Likewise NJ, where the governor has exceptionally broad powers, is telling its unionized teachers to take a pay cut or a layoff.

The question is ... when this not so rare sentiment will show up in Vermont?  Well, for starters, you have read about it here for three years.  We’re not fooled by the, "If you love your kids you’ll give us more money, smaller workloads and lots of helpers" line. Hugh Kemper has seen to it that the dirty, frayed veil has been lifted from the wasteful, irresponsible education spending and its perpetrators. 

Ira Wind Project put on Hold
From WCAX, April 27, 2010

Plans for a wind farm in and around Ira have been put on hold.

Vermont Community Wind Farm wanted to build what would have been the state's largest wind farm on Herrick Mountain, Spruce Knob, Ames Hollow and the Bird Mountain Ridgeline. Ira residents voted against the plan on Town Meeting Day, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department hopes to get the ridgelines designated as "rare and irreplaceable natural areas."

Now VCWF says it's put the plan on hold because these designations will significantly change the permitting process for the project. Company officials say those changes don't appear to be happening any time soon and the complications make it too risky to move forward. However the owner will hold onto leases associated with the project.

Good Question...
From Vermont Tiger, April 28, 2010

"Many of our elected officials continue to fight and oppose choice. So I ask - when will our representatives make the obvious choice that truly represents Vermonters, saves taxpayers money, improves achievement for all students, increases housing values - AND is socially just?"

The question is put by Mr. Daren M. Houck, Headmaster of The Mountain School at Winhall, in an excellent letter-to-the-editor that appears in the Manchester Journal

Related: Democrat Rethinks School Choice

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

The Party's Over: China's Endgame
By Gordon Chang, World Affairs

The dominant narrative about China today is that it will, within a few short decades, become the preeminent power in the international system. Its economy, according to the conventional wisdom, was the first to recover from the global downturn and will eventually go on to become the world’s largest. Geopolitical dominance will inevitably follow. 

How did this notion of Chinese supremacy gain hold? The answer is nothing more profound than statistical extrapolation. China was destitute when Deng Xiaoping grabbed power in December 1978. Since then, the country has averaged, according to official statistics, a spectacular annual growth of 9.9 percent. This rate, if carried forward, gives China the world’s largest economy in a few decades—2027, to be exact, according to a now-famous Goldman Sachs estimate. 

So will ours be the Chinese century? Probably not. China has just about reached high tide, and will soon begin a long painful process of falling back. The most recent period of China’s fast growth began with Deng’s Southern Tour in early 1992, the event that signaled the restarting of reforms after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Fortunately for the Communist Party of China, this event coincided with the beginning of an era wherein political barriers to trade were falling and globalization was kicking into high gear, which set the table for a period of tremendous wealth generation.

Related Article: With a Growing Economy, China Becomes Increasingly Repressive

Obama, U.S. Gov't, Downplay Jihadist Threat in Failed NYC Bombing
By Anthony G. Martin,Conservative Examiner, May 2, 2010

Once again, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Government are downplaying the danger inherent in the Jihadist threat encapsulated in the failed NYC bombing last night.

In this image taken from video, A police officer approaches the vehicle containing a car bomb, which stands with the door open and red canisters on the roadway at New York's Times Square, NY, U.S.A., Sunday, May 2, 2010. Police cleared the streets around Times Square when the vehicle was seen to be smoking late Saturday evening, before recovering un-detonated bomb components including cans of gasoline, tanks of propane, fireworks and other electrical equipment from the sport utility vehicle.(AP Photo/APTV).

Although early indications from NYC, FBI, and Homeland Security point to the possibility of a terrorist attack by a Muslim in retaliation against the TV show South Park's negative portrayal of 'the prophet' Muhammad, so far the government and the media in general have all but dismissed this key component of the failed attack and have even suggested that panic in the wake of the bomb threat was 'overkill.'

Jihadists in Iraq: Down for the Count?
By Scott Stewart, Strategic Forecasters, April 29, 2010

On April 25, The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) posted a statement on the Internet confirming that two of its top leaders, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri, had been killed April 18 in a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in Salahuddin province. Al-Baghdadi (an Iraqi also known as Hamid Dawud Muhammad Khalil al-Zawi), was the head of the ISI, an al Qaeda-led jihadist alliance in Iraq, and went by the title "Leader of the Faithful." Al-Masri (an Egyptian national also known as Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir), was the military leader of the ISI and head of the group’s military wing, al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)....

As STRATFOR has previously noted, leadership is a critical factor in the operational success of a militant group. Without skilled leadership, militant groups lose their ability to conduct effective attacks, particularly ones of a sophisticated nature. Leadership, skill and professionalism are the factors that make the difference between a militant group wanting to attack something — i.e., its intent — and the group’s ability to successfully carry out its intended attack — i.e., its capability. The bottom line is that new recruits simply cannot replace seasoned operational commanders, as the ISI suggested in its statement....

Like operational leaders, competent bombmakers are not easy to replace. They also need to possess a broad set of skills and require a great deal of training and practical experience to hone their skills. A master bombmaker is a rare and precious commodity in the militant world. Therefore, the bombmakers recently arrested in Iraq could prove to be almost as big a loss to AQI as the operational leaders.

Nuclear Terrorism: Our Foes Eying ‘A View to a Kill’ (Part 6 of 10)
By Peter Huessy,Family Security Matters, March 31, 2010

The most serious threat America faces is nuclear terrorism from Iran, either a nuclear EMP attack launched by missile or a warhead smuggled into a city by an Iranian sponsored terrorist group. Russian-United States arms control deals, however beneficial, do not get at the network of nuclear suppliers that is helping Tehran secure nuclear weapons nor maintain its status as the world's premier state-sponsor of terror. To stop Iran's march toward such weapons either requires crippling economic measures or regime change. 

New North Korean War Plan: Grab Seoul, Negotiate
By Joshua Stanton, One Free Korea, April 27, 2010

Via the Joongang Ilbo, North Korea’s on-the-shelf invasion oplan no longer calls for invading all of South Korea, but in recognition of stronger U.S. and South Korean military capabilities, now calls for quickly occupying Seoul and then negotiating favorable terms.

With the new plan, the North would concentrate its early fire on Seoul and neighboring areas, where most of South Korea’s social and economic infrastructure is located.

"North Korea would try to occupy Seoul early," the source said. "And from there, it could either try to go farther south, or try to negotiate [for a cease-fire] from an advantageous position."

Risk Grows that Israel will Go Alone to Take out Iranian Nukes
By Sara A. Carter, Conservative Examiner, April 27, 2010

The growing rift between the Obama administration and Israel, coupled with the administration’s failure to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program, has increased the chances that the Israelis will eventually launch an attack on Iran, experts said.

"U.S.-Israeli relations are at their lowest point since ... the early ’80s," said Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council. "It has a lot to do with the fact that Israel thinks this administration is not serious about preventing a nuclear Iran. What is Israel going to do? I’m not certain one way or another. But from the rhetoric, there will come a determining point."

Jimmy Carter and Sudan’s Genocidal Regime
By Dr. Walid Phares, Khairi Abaza Family Security Matters, April 29, 2010

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is often lauded by the Arab world for championing the Palestinian cause. However, after stumbling into the world of Sudanese politics, Carter has lost all credibility. Inexplicably, Carter gave his blessing (with perfunctory caveats) to a rigged election that has handed victory to a genocidal war criminal who granted safe haven to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

Sudan held polls earlier this month (April 11-16) to elect a president and a legislature. These were the country’s first elections there since Omar El-Bashir’s Islamist military junta overthrew the government in 1989. While some Arab observers described the vote as a new possible beginning for Sudan, many parties decided to boycott them. And for good reason. The elections were neither free nor fair.

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From Elsewhere

BP Is Criticized Over Oil Spill, but U.S. Missed Chances to Act
By Campbell Robertson & Eric Lipton, The New York Times, April 30, 2010

BP officials said they did everything possible, and a review of the response suggests it may be too simplistic to place all the blame on the oil company. The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP, which was leasing the drilling rig that exploded in flames on April 20 and sank two days later. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead.

The Department of Homeland Security waited until Thursday to declare that the incident was "a spill of national significance," and then set up a second command center in Mobile. The actions came only after the estimate of the size of the spill was increased fivefold to 5,000 barrels a day.

The delay meant that the Homeland Security Department waited until late this week to formally request a more robust response from the Department of Defense, with Ms. Napolitano acknowledging even as late as Thursday afternoon that she did not know if the Defense Department even had equipment that might be helpful.

By Friday afternoon, she said, the Defense Department had agreed to send two large military transport planes to spray chemicals that can disperse the oil while it is still in the Gulf.

Related Article: David Kotok: $12.5 Billion Is Just the Start of the Oil Cleanup Costs, and a Double-Dip Is Now Way More Likely

What Arizona Must Live With
Gordon Brown called Gillian Duffy a "bigot," then got into his limo and drove away. Remind you of anybody?
By Mark Steyn, National Review, May 1, 2010

That’s Arizona. To the coastal commentariat, "undocumented immigrants" are the people who mow your lawn while you’re at work and clean your office while you’re at home. (That, for the benefit of Linda Greenhouse, is the real apartheid: the acceptance of a permanent "undocumented" servant class by far too many "documented" Americans who assuage their guilt by pathetic sentimentalization of immigration.) But in border states, illegal immigration is life and death. I spoke this week to a lady who has a camp of illegals on the edge of her land: She lies awake at night, fearful for her children and alert to strange noises in the yard. President Obama, shooting from his lip, attacked the new law as an offense against "fairness." Where’s the fairness for this woman’s family? Because her home is in Arizona rather than Hyde Park, Chicago, she’s just supposed to get used to living under siege? Like Gillian Duffy in northern England, this lady has to live there, while the political class that created this situation climbs back into the limo and gets driven far away.

Top 10 Reasons to Rely on Private Sector Markets
By John Pisciotta, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, April 27, 2010

Americans have less confidence and trust in government today than at any time since the 1950s. This is the conclusion of the Pew Research Center survey released in mid-April. Just 22 percent expressed trust in government to deliver effective policies almost always or most of the time. With the robust expansion of the economic role of the federal government under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Pew poll is evidence of an opportunity for advocates of freer markets.

That Americans distrust their government is not unadulterated good news. An effective rule of law, one aspect of which is a government that can be trusted to act justly and equitably, is a necessary precondition of the free and virtuous society. Still, in the context of the extraordinary extension of government control in areas such as finance and health care, news of political skepticism offers an opportunity for those who recognize that both the moral and economic wellbeing of our nation depends more on the health of individuals, families, and other institutions than on the engineering of bureaucrats. The apostle Peter advised Christians to "always be ready to give an answer" to those who ask for "a reason of the hope that is in you" (I Pt 3:15). This advice is relevant for defenders of private sector reliance. We must not merely repeat slogans regarding private enterprise. We must express the reasons why we defend decentralized, voluntary organization of our economy over centralized control. Here are my top 10 reasons, in reverse order, for the hope that is within me.

Economist: Stimulus Didn't Help
From UPI, April 23, 2010

Although there are some who say that the economy is showing some signs of improving there are others that say that nothing that the president has done had anything to do with an slightly improved economy. (see article)

But that won’t stop the president from saying that he brought the country from the brink when he knows that the only things that will restore the nation’s economy are jobs-jobs that have not been produced nor will they be. 

The $787 billion dollar stimulus was supposed to keep unemployment under 8%. Unemployment reached over 10% and is presently at 9.7% and now economist say that the stimulus did next to nothing to help the economy.

"The recovery is picking up steam as employers boost payrolls, but economists think the government's stimulus package and jobs bill had little to do with the rebound, according to a survey released Monday." -- Hibah Yousuf

66% See Tax Cuts As Better Way To Create Jobs Than More Government Spending
From Rasmussen Reports, April 30, 2010

Most U.S. voters favor a new government program designed to create jobs but still think ultimately tax cuts and decisions by private business leaders will do more good in terms of job creation.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that 66% believe cutting taxes is a better way to create new jobs than increasing government spending. That’s up seven points from January.

Polls Show November Elections Could Yield Landslide for Pro-Life Movement
By Steven Ertelt, Editor, April 28, 2010

Two new polls show the November mid-term congressional elections could yield a landslide for the pro-life movement. As pro-life groups look to replace the aggressively pro-abortion Democratic leadership that gave Americans the health care bill and its taxpayer funding of abortions, polls show change is coming.

With the leadership of the Republican Party in the House and Senate strongly pro-life and with most GOP candidates taking a pro-life stance and most Democrats backing abortion, a party change in Congress benefits pro-life interests.

Teacher Pensions are a Tcking Tme Bomb
Josh Barro, The Washington Examiner, April 28, 2010

What could be worse news than that public school teacher pensions across the country report an unfunded liability of over $330 billion? How about the fact that these reports understate the size of the liability by a factor of three?

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