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True North Archives - May 27, 2008
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Defenders Council of Vermont
Compiled by Jamie Zeppernick

The word Islam means "submission." Toward those who are skeptical of the Muslim religion, radical Islam does not and cannot adopt a live and let live attitude. It is more of the attitude: you let us flourish in your midst and we will either convert you, subjugate you, or kill you. That has been the history of militant Islam for 1400 years. To radical Islam, peaceful coexistence with us means that we submit or die. So how soon will this kind of "submission" comes to America ? That depends on us. The Defenders Council of Vermont is dedicated to helping all of us do something, to alerting and educating the citizens of Vermont about the clear and present danger of radical Islam, as well as honoring those who serve to protect us, and reviving our understanding and commitment to America’s founding principles. We will only succeed in this mission if we stand up and embrace the responsibility we all have as free men in a free nation. We owe it to the authors of freedom, we owe it to our children, and we even owe it to those enslaved to a religion of submission. Freedom is a rare and lovely thing in the world. Don't let it die in America. Please contact Defenders Council of Vermont at for more information on how you can get involved.

Behold the Silent Politicians
By Martin Harris

Why the strange politician reluctance towards a clear articulation of their long-term mission: re-invention of Vermont as a high-tax, high-governmental-service-level, high-anti-build and anti-business level, high-income-requirement sort of place for which, unless you’re part of the upper-income quintiles willing to pay generously to get in and stay in, you’d be priced out, unless you’re part of the new under-class, the subsidized lower-income quintiles who keep the lawns mowed, the tables waited, and the plumbing fixed? Maybe because it doesn’t sound quite so "American", this two-tier-economy-in-a-faux-bucolic-environment objective, when too clearly stated. 

Al-Jazeera in Burlington
By Defenders Council of Vermont

The move to bring Al-Jazeera to Burlington met with immediate local opposition. According to a local Burlington resident who is now spearheading the opposition: "The prior general manager of BT (Burlington Telecom) brought AJ online unilaterally, without formal approval from the Mayor or City Council Apparently he did brief the council, but told them AJ is just like the BBC and CNN." Perhaps it was this opposition, coupled with a bleak financial future, which led to a decision by the current general manager to simply drop Al-Jazeera. This was a move that should not have been much of a surprise since they had no contract to begin with. When the local "Peace and Justice" groups got wind of this, they started to scream about violations of free speech.

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"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other." 

-- John Stuart Mill, "The Contest in America," Fraser’s Magazine (February 1862)

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Symington’s record: Drive up the Gas Tax on Vermont families
As Vermonters begin the holiday weekend, many by topping off the tank at around $4.00 a galon to drive to the family barbeque, it is worth remembering that if Gaye Symington had her way, Vermonters would be paying a 20% higher tax at the pump.

In 2006, Symington stated that adding 4 cents to the gasoline tax and 6 cents to the diesel tax "makes sense." (Burlington Free Press, 3/17/06). She remained steadfast in her support of the gas tax increase despite understanding, "We recognize that the gas tax is politically difficult when the price of gas is so high…" (Burlington Free Press, 4/29/06). 

In other words, high gas prices squeezing Vermonters’ household budgets are not a reason enough in Symington’s world to avoid adding to an already unbearable burden. (Just as generally rising costs are not a good enough reason to help Vermonters with a sales tax holiday.)

Despite the resounding defeat of her gas tax proposal in 2006, Symington continued to support the concept in 2007. The Valley News reported that Symington quoted David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, that "a higher gas tax is necessary," and said herself of a possible gas tax increase in Vermont, "We have to have a number of issues back on the table." (Valley News, 8/9/07)

At her kick-off announcement in Montpelier, Symington was asked if her budget proposal (if elected) would contain broad based tax increases. After a long, awkward pause, she answered, "I’m not prepared to answer that right now." She also asked that people not pay too close attention to her 12 year legislative record. This is probably one reason why – the past is a pretty good indicator of the future. 

Captive Breakout
From, May 24, 2008

So while some of our leaders continue to go around dismissing tax competion as an urban (rual) legend, we are in fact the willing and happy beneficiaries of our competative captive insurance tax regulation. However, strategic advantage is fleeting. Other states have taken notice and are one the move. More than half of the states now have captive insurance enabling statutes, and a half-dozen others now aggressively cater to the domestic captive market - Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, South Carolina, and Utah.

Prebuys in Limbo
High fuel oil prices strand dealers, consumers
By Josh O’Gorman, Rutland Herald, May 24, 2008

Cota, president of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, said there are two schools of thought right now: either prices are rising because resources are rapidly diminishing or the price is artificially inflated, and Cota is putting his money squarely on the latter.

Pure Politics, But A Smart Move
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 24, 2008

No adjourned session for dealing with a veto(s) also spares the Democrats another embarrassment from failing to override the governor's veto. They have a dismal history of such failures, and they were in line for another. There was nowhere near the support they would have needed to overturn Douglas's veto of the Vermont Yankee hijacking. Too many legislators have too much common sense to approve that canard.

Accelerators vs. the Brakes
From, May 24, 2008

And that is the argument being posed by Democrat Gaye Symington and Progressive Anthony Pollina. With either, Vermont doesn’t have a brake. With either, everyone in Montpelier would be on the same page. Full steam ahead. No barriers. Good visual. But Vermonters are naturally suspicious of clear sailing. If the governor were to wax Reaganesque and proclaim it’s morning again in Vermont, we’d ask for a medical review. 

Things are not okay. And it’s deceitful to argue otherwise. We have a workforce issue. We have an affordability issue. We have a demographic issue. We are an expensive place to do business. To poke around to find businesses that are still managing to prosper is to play the public as fools. This isn’t about individual businesses, or even individual sectors. It’s about the state as a whole, something that is defined through categorical things as tax receipts, growth rates, and census information. Not visionary, perhaps, but real.

High Hopes
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 22, 2008

Vermont has its own little old ant and silly old ram in Sen. Peter Shumlin. His rubber tree plant and billion-kilowatt dam is nuclear power and Vermont Yankee. Over and over, he has butted his head against both whenever and wherever he could. Last year, it was his effort to blackmail Vermont Yankee with a grossly unfair and broken-promise new tax. This year it was his attempt to force Vermont Yankee to put an additional $400 million into its decommissioning fund to join the $400 million that is already there. Both times, he was able to gather enough environmental extremists and simply gullible Democrats to get it through the legislature. Both times, Vermonters were saved by the Governor's veto from this naïve effort to get rid of our cheapest and environmentally safest and cleanest power source.

On Memorial Day, Hope in Iraq
By Donna McKay, Burlington Free Press, May 26, 2008

Jed replied from Baghdad: "You need to remember that every one of us is here because we volunteered. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. I feel like I am doing a lot of good over here, and I don't want to leave.

Related: Troops in Iraq Fight to Give Rights to Iraqis

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

A Hero's Story on Memorial Day
Based on an article by James Stewart in the Mudville Gazette

This post, originally from September, 2003, is part of our Memorial Day weekend tribute to the fallen...

B.C. researchers find decline in global terrorism
By The Canadian Press, May 21, 2008 

A group of researchers from Simon Fraser University says global terrorism is on the decline, despite previous data and public perceptions that suggest otherwise. The university's Human Security Report Project says fatalities from terrorist attacks around the world have, in fact, decreased by 40 per cent since 2001. 

Bin Laden Message: A Surrender In Iraq?
From The Yankee Sailor, May 21, 2008

Then, just this week, two new messages from Osama bin Laden were published in conjunction with Israel’s 60th birthday. The first was summarized by the superb new site, Jihadica, as follows:

In his address, Bin Laden stated the "Palestine question" is the chief cause of conflict between Western nations and the Muslim community. It is the ultimate reason why AQ attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

Not only does this represent a bit of historical revisionism on bin Laden’s part (his original struggle was over the presence of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia) it was also a rebuke of Zawahiri’s recent statements that Iraq would remain the focus of their efforts.

Six Million African Muslims Convert to Christianity Each Year
Orthodoxy Today (transcription of an Al-Jazeerah television interview between Maher Abdallah and Shiekh Ahmed Katani)

This translation of a televised conversation reveals a rare glimpse into the outlook of Muslim scholars who are concerned about Christianity’s growth. The invited guest is Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.

Katani starts off describing the overall problem:

Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.

As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.

From what I have heard from reliable sources, six million may be too low. Reliable accounts say that one hundred thousand Africans convert to Christianity per day, though not all of them come from Islam. Then Katani says Muslims should build schools before mosques, in order to build the worshipper (Muslim) before the building. Why? To stop the the dangerous "Christian missionary octopus"

Iraqi Troops Enter Sadr City
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, May 20, 2008

Iraqi soldiers, without American assistance, are about to take on the worst of the worst in Iraq; the Mahdi Army in their Sadr City stronghold:

Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers entered the volatile Sadr City district of eastern Baghdad on Tuesday, meeting virtually no resistance from the Shiite militia fighters who in recent weeks have clashed heavily with U.S. and Iraqi troops, Iraqi officials said. The deployment of hundreds of government troops to the area began before dawn. It was the start of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's long-awaited effort to restore order in the vast Shiite slum, home to scores of militiamen loyal to radical anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. 

The push, dubbed "Operation Peace," was "totally Iraqi planned, led and executed," the U.S. military said in a statement. 

There were no reports of clashes during the first day of the operation, which began just over a week after political leaders influential in Sadr City reached a cease-fire agreement with lawmakers of Maliki's party. As you can see, this is a very significant development. If the Iraqi Army can prove itself in that hellhole, it would show that they have made significant strides toward being able to stand on their own against a well armed enemy.

Is Turkey's gov't starting a Muslim Reformation?
By Daniel Pipes, The Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2008

Accounts from Turkey suggest that the government is attempting a bold reinterpretation of Islam. Its unusually named ministry of religion, the Presidency of Religious Affairs and the Religious Charitable Foundation, has undertaken a three-year Hadith Project to systematically review 162,000 hadith reports and winnow them down to some 10,000, with the goal of separating original Islam from the accretions of 14 centuries. ...

Mehmet Görmez, a senior lecturer in hadith at Ankara University and the vice-president of religious affairs, heads the "Hadith Project." Its director, Mehmet Görmez, adds that the purpose is a scholarly one, to understand the hadith better: "We will make a new compilation of the hadith and reinterpret them if necessary." More broadly, Görmez explains, "The project takes its inspiration from the interpretations of the modernist vein of Islam... We want to bring out the positive side of Islam that promotes personal honor, human rights, justice, morality, women's rights, respect for the other." 

This means, for example, reinterpreting hadiths that "present women as inferior beings," such as those that encourage female genital mutilation, honor killings and the prohibition of women traveling without their husbands.

Petraeus takes the Hill
From the New York Daily News, May 24, 2008

Upon the return of Gen. David Petraeus to Capitol Hill, here is some of what he could report to his inquisitors:

Yes, last year's troop surge has been measurably a success. The assorted insurgencies are rearing up far less frequently now. "Security incidents" last week were at their lowest level in four years. Indeed, the bad guys themselves moan that their numbers are fewer and their operational capabilities are diminished. 

Even Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militiamen aren't much protesting as Iraqi troops move into Baghdad's Sadr City to restore order to that lawless tinderbox. ("The forces have a right to enter," peaceably concedes one Sadr spokesman, speaking in the absence of Sadr himself, who remains holed up in Iran.) 

And, Petraeus adds, he is reasonably confident that by September he will be able to order still more troop drawdowns.

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From Elsewhere

The Next American Frontier
By Michael S. Malone, The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2008

For three centuries the frontier had defined us, tantalized us with the perpetual chance to "light out for the territories" and start our lives over. It was the foundation of those very American notions of "federalism" and "rugged individualism." But Americans had crossed an invisible line in history, entering a new world with a new set of rules. 

What Turner couldn't guess was that the unexplored prairie would become the uninvented new product, the unexploited new market and the untried new business plan. The great new American frontiers proved to be those of business, science and technology. In the course of the 20th century, Americans invented more milestone technologies and inventions, created more wealth and leisure time, and reorganized their institutions more times than any country had ever done before – despite a massive economic depression and two world wars. It all reached a crescendo in the magical year of 1969, with the creation of the Internet, the invention of the microprocessor and, most of all, a man walking on the moon.

The Conservative Future in the House
By Patrick Casey, American Thinker, May 20, 2008

While blame is being slung around for the anticipated GOP slaughter in November, there is one group within the Republican minority in the House that has been espousing a return to the last way of governing that delivered a majority to the GOP: conservatism. That group would be the Republican Study Committee, a caucus that many hoped would take over after the 2006 election debacle.

Carl Hulse has an interesting article in this morning's New York Times that describes the group's latest prescription for GOP recovery, House Conservatives to Offer Ideas for G.O.P. Message. The RSC is poised to release a seven-point proposal that it wants Republicans in the House to embrace as their message to retake the majority.

31,000 Scientists Rejecting Global Warming Theory to be Named Monday
By Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters, May 18, 2008

The names of over 31,000 American scientists that reject the theory of anthropogenic global warming are to be revealed on Monday. Although this will occur at the National Press Club in Washington, DC., it seems a metaphysical certitude media will completely ignore the event.

Alaska Will Sue to Block U.S. Listing of Polar Bears as 'Threatened'
From Fox News, May 22, 2008

The state of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday. She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts. Palin argued that there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.

McCain Finds His Crisis in Global Warming
By John Stossel,, May 21, 2008

"Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, ... we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge" (Full remarks here). 

With that, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain threw his support -- again -- to a complex government program to reduce carbon emissions. He claims he can do this, without causing economic hardship, by using the power of the free market. As The Wall Street Journal commented, "His plan is 'market based' insofar as it requires an expensive, invasive government bureaucracy to interfere with the market". 

Obama's Social Insecurity Plan
From Investor's Business Daily, May 20, 2008

We suspected that the No. 1 liberal in the U.S. Senate would get around to playing the granny card as he shook Hillary off and focused on John McCain. That moment came in Gresham, Ore., on Sunday when he promised to protect "the promise that FDR made" and "preserve the Social Security Trust Fund." He warned that McCain would raise the retirement age and privatize Social Security a la President Bush. 

How does he demagogue the issue? Let us count the myths. Fact is, Social Security is all trust and no fund. There's no stash of your cash in an account with your name on it that nobody can touch. The money beneficiaries get comes from the paychecks of their children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. But with private accounts there would be cash in an account.

Protesting the Antiwar Protestors
By Kevin Ferris, The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day isn't until Monday. But for Rich Davis, a 20-year veteran of the Navy, it seems to come every Saturday. That's when he pulls out a handmade sign and heads for a street corner near the Chester County Court House in this suburban Philadelphia community. Mr. Davis, 54, is a pro-military protester who makes a public stand each week in support of the troops and their mission. ...

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