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True North Archives - May 13, 2008
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Featured Articles

"No-Growthers and Their Perfect Little Stepford State"
By David D. Demar

Regarding John McClaughry's article posted on May 6th titled "Smart Growthers and their Perfect Little State", I have to disagree with the title of his article, not his logic. From my point of view, being a Vermonter who was born, raised and schooled in Saint Albans (thankfully just before the "rot" set in), I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. McClaughry's message.  But I feel Mr. McClaughry's article should have been titled, "No-Growthers and their perfect little Stepford State".  This would have been more accurate than smart growthers, as the title of his article belies their real intent.  Being in the Pro-Life movement for the past decade (from a perspective of self-education on the issue, I might add), I have come to realize the people on the left really do hate other humans, but they have to make their message palpable for the general public.  The VNRC's website link to ZPG (Zero Population Growth) and their true ideology lays bare for scrutiny their claimed concern for our state and ultimately the mass of humanity within its boundaries.

Spitzer-think in Montpelier
By Martin Harris

I’m indebted to one Peter Bernstein, octogenarian financial analyst, for remembering a trenchant quote; and to The Wall Street Journal for publishing it. The quote itself comes from (former New York State Governor) Elliot Spitzer, a Democrat who had been successfully following a three-score-of-years-old Republican-designed career path (Thomas Dewey, DA to Guv, then a try for Prez derailed by one Harry Truman) until he was dismounted by a zipper problem (Spitzer, not Dewey or Truman). The quote reads as follows: "I am doing something dangerous, but because of who I am, and how smart I am, it is not going to come back to haunt me". I thought the quote trenchant because (opinion, as befits an opinion column) it seems to me that there’s a lot of Spitzer-think, albeit not so clearly articulated, under Montpelier’s Golden Dome.

Danziger Is At It Again
By John R.Gilligan

Once again I find I must write and complain about an Argus Jeff Danziger cartoon. This one appeared on the editorial page in the May 3rd edition of the Time Argus, showing John McCain's skull cap turned up and showing his brain as a miniaturization of President Bush standing in the cavity. Very funny liberal humor, ha ha ha.

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"In war, resolution.  In defeat defiance. In victory, magnanimity.  In peace, goodwill." -- Winston Churchill

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The 2008 Session: Assessing The Damage
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 5, 2008

Now that the Vermont Legislature has adjourned, the villagers can come out of their houses, breathe a sigh of relief, undertake a damage assessment and attempt to return to a normal life without looking over their shoulder.

Buying Economic Growth
From, May 12, 2008

The Vermont Economic Progress Council recently awarded $5.8 million in grants to help foster economic growth. The  Council considered seventeen applications for the grant but only approved seven of them.  Only really deserving companies received grants, companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Burton, and Energizer. What's so telling about the council's choice to give grants to such prominent and successful companies is that doing so amounts to a tacit admission that without the grants these companies would have chosen to expand their businesses elsewhere.  And, its an admission that the companies would have expanded elsewhere for purely financial reasons. Alas, taxes do matter.

Vermont Yankee Veto
From WCAX-TV, May 7, 2008

Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, vetoed what's become a controversial bill related to Vermont's only nuclear power plant on Wednesday. The bill required Vermont Yankee's owners to set aside enough money to dismantle the plant, if it changes ownership.

The Sad Life of a Parasite
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 3, 2008

Last year NEKCA's sister, NEKHS (Northeast Kingdom Human Services) helped raise our shock threshold for shameless over-indulgence with construction of their palace on Route 2. That agency, which pays its top two directors (Eric Grim and Luke Fontaine) nearly $200,000 a year (and has another half-million dollars tied up in five other employees), takes in almost $20,000,000 annually from the government to provide "mental health services." Their racket does so well that, before building, they forked out $238,000 for an architect. Those numbers nearly sent us in search of their redundant services.

So we have become resigned to the facts that: a) Parasitical agencies will shamelessly wallow at the public trough and; b) Woefully incompetent feds will irresponsibly waste our money. We're left to rely on locally elected representatives to safeguard us from further fleecing.

Are Shumlin, Symington Blowing Off Vermont’s "Handshake Agreement" on Fundraising?

It appears that Gaye Symington’s decision to cancel a June 26 veto override session was influenced by her desire to begin fundraising from lobbyists for her expected gubernatorial bid. Peter Shumlin’s attempted defense of Symington as reported by the AP… 

"Shumlin questioned whether Vermont even has a campaign finance law now, given that Douglas has vetoed bills on that topic two years in a row. ‘Why would we do anything based around a campaign finance law that doesn't exist?’ Shumlin asked." (AP, May 7, 2008) worrisome on two counts, 

  • 1)   In 2006 all candidates and parties successfully agreed to abide by the pre-1997 campaign finance limits on donations. For 2008, Governor Douglas and the Vermont Republican Party have agreed to abide by that agreement again. Saying, "Why would we do anything based around a campaign finance law that doesn’t exist" strongly implies that Shumlin and Symington see no reason to honor that agreement or abide by the self-imposed $1000 per election limits. 
  • 2)   Shumlin’s quote illustrates that he does not understand Vermont’s campaign laws. While it is arguable that Vermont does not technically have contribution limits, we do have campaign finance laws. For example, the prohibition of raising money from lobbyists by legislators while the legislature is in session is still law, as are all filing requirements, such as the need for a candidate to file paperwork with the Secretary of State after raising or spending $500. 
  • Vermont Republican Party Chairman Rob Roper said, "This just goes to show that misinformation and a lack of principle have been guiding the Democrat leaders’ schemes for our campaign finance laws for past two years. Governor Douglas and the Republican Party have pledged to honor the handshake agreement to abide by the reasonable contribution limits that were in place before Act 64 was struck down as unconstitutional, just as all candidates and parties did successfully for 2006. Peter Shumlin’s self-serving attitude regarding this issue is disappointing."

    School Board Ya-da, Ya-da, Ya-da
    Caledonia Record Editorial, May 9, 2008

    In an article titled, "Parent Takes On School Board," Tuesday, we reported a St. Johnsbury parent's consternation over the St. Johnsbury School being found again to have failed the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Melissa Yu said, "It means for five years in a row, we've failed our children, and that's five years too many. Obviously we are in a state of crisis." Ms. Yu enumerated a number of objections to present practice in the school and concluded with this statement, "If the same teachers are failing over and over again. We need to look at new teachers." ...

    All of which adds up to governance and administrative Ya-da, Ya-da, Ya-da. The fact is that St. Johnsbury School hasn't hacked it for five years. Improvement is always promised in the future, but never delivered. There is always a lot of clucking, but no egg-laying. ...

    There should be two outcomes from an honest evaluation of these two factors. If NCLB's requirements are unrealistic, dump NCLB. If dull, or lazy, or incompetent teachers are the problem, get rid of them. If this latter is the option, it will require a major shift of power from the unions to the citizens, but it would be worth the battle.

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    Freedom Under Fire:
    The Global War on Terrorism

    Iraq Sunnis Urge Arabs to Act Against 'Iranian Occupation'
    From AFP, May 07, 2008

    An Iraqi Sunni delegation on a visit to Cairo on Wednesday urged Arab countries to act against what it called the "Iranian occupation" of Iraq. "We would like a common Arab position to save Iraq and its people ...(in the face of) the Iranian occupation," Sheikh Majid Abdel Razzak al-Ali Suleiman said after a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit.

    Just Like Us! Really?
    By Robert Satloff, The Weekly Standard, May 12, 2008

    Gallup says only 7 percent of the world's Muslims are political radicals. Yet 36 percent think the 9/11 attacks were in some way justified.

    Iran Hardliners Condemn Khatami
    From BBC News, May 06, 2008

    On Friday Mr Khatami said the Islamic republic's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, had not wanted to export the revolution by armed force. The MPs accuse him of jeopardizing national security and want to know if he had clearance to make the remarks. They say his comments implicate Iran in events it has had no role in.


    Mr Khatami's remarks have been interpreted as suggesting that Iran supports insurgents in other countries.

    Israel's 60-Year Test
    By Bret Stephens, Global View, May 6, 2008

    Sixty years after its birth, Israel continues to test the proposition that reality counts for more than perception. The Web site keeps a running tally of all United Nations resolutions, decisions and reports condemning this or that country for this or that human rights violation (real or alleged). Between January 2003 and March 2008, tiny Israel – its population not half that of metropolitan Cairo's – was condemned no fewer than 635 times. The runners-up were Sudan at 280, the Democratic Republic of the Congo at 209, and Burma at 183. North Korea was cited a mere 60 times, a third as many as the United States.

    Is Israel the world's foremost abuser of human rights? A considerable segment of world opinion thinks that it is, while an equally considerable segment of elite opinion thinks that, even if it isn't, its behavior is nonetheless reprehensible by civilized standards.

    I would argue the opposite: that no other country has been so circumspect in using force against the provocations of its enemies. Nor has any so consistently preserved the civil liberties of its own citizens. That goes double in a country so constantly beset by so many threats to its existence that its government would long ago have been justified in imposing a perpetual state of emergency.

    Iran Proxy Hezb'allah Training Iraqi Militias - in Iran
    By Rick Moran, American Thinker, May 05, 2008

    The Lebanese terrorist group Hezb'allah is training Iraqi militia members in Tehran according to American sources in Iraq.

    The Truth About Iraq's Casualty Count
    By Max Boot, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2008

    More important, casualties cannot be looked at in a vacuum. A spike in casualties could be a sign that the enemy is gaining strength. Or it could be a sign that tough combat is under way that will lead to the enemy's defeat and the creation of a more peaceful environment in the future. ...  The latest increase in casualties is the result of another coalition offensive: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's decision to break the grip of militias in Basra. At first the results did not look promising: Iraqi troops were rushed in without adequate preparation, and shortly after the March 25 offensive began appeared stymied in their battles against the Mahdist Army. Mr. Maliki seemed to agree to an Iranian-brokered cease-fire with Moqtada al Sadr that left the Mahdists in control of much of the city. But as April progressed it became clear that the results of the initial clashes were more beneficial than most (including me) had initially suspected.

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    From Elsewhere

    The Case For $80 A Barrel Oil
    By Daniel Fisher,, May 9, 2008

    Oil prices may hang above $100 a barrel for the rest of this year but will fall as low as $80 next year as world demand slackens and Saudi Arabia tries to buy influence with the incoming president by pumping more crude oil, an influential Lehman Brothers analyst said in a report issued today

    Has Big Media Global Warming Bias Begun to Endanger the Public?
    By Bill Tate, American Thinker, May 09, 2008

    Why did the AP and the Globe de-emphasize Maine officials' snowpack warning, especially when doing so endangered the property and safety of the public they are supposed to serve?

    The Globe is owned by the New York Times Company. Both the Times and the Associated Press are heavily invested in the myth of Global Warming, or -- as I like to call it -- Global Warning. Record snowpack means higher than normal amounts of snow, colder than usual temperatures, or both. None of which readily fits into the MSM's chosen story line that mankind is giving Mother Nature a fever. Big Media's Global Warning bias has largely remained in the realm of theory; now it has begun to endanger people's lives and property in real time.

    The AP and the Globe had the choice of reporting a truly inconvenient truth -- for them -- or of perpetuating Global Warming, of facilitating officials' efforts to protect the public or advancing their ideological agenda. Why are we not surprised by the decision they made?

    Biofuel Farming Looks to Be an Environmental Disaster
    by Jennifer Barone and Amber Fields, Discover Magazine, May, 2008

    Growing corn for ethanol may increase greenhouse gases for over a century.

    THE STUDIES:  "Land Clearing and the Carbon Biofuel Debt" by Joseph Fargione et al., and "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions From Land Use Change" by Timothy Searchinger et al., both published in the February 7, 2008, issue of Science.

    THE QUESTION: Will switching from fossil fuels to biofuels really reduce greenhouse gases? We take a close look at two big, controversial studies that examine carbon emissions from the ecosystems torn down to produce biofuels. ...

    Democrats’ Platform for Revolution
    By John Perazzo,, May 05, 2008

    Americans are well acquainted with presidential candidate Barack Obama’s legendary pledges to bring "change" to America’s political and social landscape. (For example, see here and here and here.) Indeed, "Change We Can Believe In" is the slogan that adorns the homepage of his campaign website and so many of the placards displayed by the supporters who attend his speaking engagements. His Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, is also well practiced at issuing calls for change. Her "Change and Experience" ad campaign was but an outgrowth of her 1993 declaration, as First Lady, that "remolding society is one of the great challenges facing all of us in the West." Most Americans are unaware, however, that when Obama and Clinton speak of "change," they mean change in the sense that a profoundly significant, though not widely known, individual -- Saul Alinsky -- outlined in his writings two generations ago. 

    Alinsky helped to establish the confrontational political tactics, which he termed "organizing," that characterized the 1960s and have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States. Both Obama and Clinton are committed disciples of Alinsky’s very specific strategies for "social change."

    The Real Cost of Tackling Climate Change
    By Steven F. Hayward, The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2008

    We all ought to reflect on what an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 really means. When we do, it becomes clear that the president's target has one overwhelming virtue: Assuming emissions curbs are even necessary, his goal is at least realistic. The same cannot be said for the carbon emissions targets espoused by the three presidential candidates and environmentalists. Indeed, these targets would send us back to emissions levels last witnessed when the cotton gin was in daily use.

    Economy Refuses to Tank. Bears Weep
    By James Pethokoukis, U.S. News and World Report, May 02, 2008

    To quote bloody-and-beaten-but-still-standing boxer Jake LaMotta (portrayed by Robert De Niro) from the 1980 film Raging Bull, "Is that all you got!" The U.S. economy, supposedly sinking into the worst economic slump in a generation, lost a skimpy 20,000 jobs last month even though some analysts were looking for losses closer to 100,000. As economist Robert Brusca put it this morning: "Job losses are way below the recession norm for this point of business cycle (if this is recession). Many things do not really add up...for the recession forecasters.... Is it still a recession? Was it ever?"

    Examining a ‘Nation at Risk’
    By Edwin J. Feulner, May 03, 2008

    This year, American taxpayers will spend more than $9,200 on the average public-school student. That's a real increase of 69 percent over the per pupil expenditure in 1980. The total bill for a student who remains through high school will be almost $100,000. This spending would be worthwhile if it gave us the results we need to compete globally. But it hasn't been doing so. American students still score poorly compared to students from other countries, especially in math and science.

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