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True North Archives - June 03, 2008
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Featured Articles

The Multibillion Dollar Energy Tax
By John McClaughry

This week the U.S. Senate begins debate on the Lieberman-Warner "greenhouse gas cap and trade" bill. The bill proposes what the Wall Street Journal has called  "the most extensive government reorganization of the economy since the 1930s".

If that formulation doesn't alarm you, try this one: Last year the Congressional Budget Office - controlled by the Democrats - reported that, depending on the final version of the bill, it will tax from $50 to $300 billion per year (in 2007 dollars) out of the economy by 2020. Every dime of this is a hidden tax that will ultimately be paid by consumers: industries like IBM, OMYA, and the Vermont ski industry, plus Joe's Machine Shop, Farmer Brown, Marilyn Motorist, and you.

Howling Wilderness, Reprised and Earmarked
By Martin Harris

Now the descendants of those early in-migrants, as well as new ones in sufficient numbers to create a dominant political majority, want to re-create as much as possible of Roger’s and Arnold’s howling wilderness by taking land out of use and back into forests. Of course, the paper and lumber industries have been doing just that for more than a century, buying up woods and abandoned farms for forestry purposes, but it has been with their own nickel, and for actual –ugh—commercial use. The new forestry/wilderness initiative is typically conceived by the Beautiful People who aggressively advocate this sort of "re-wilding" (their phrase, not mine) and prefer using OPM, Other Peoples’ Money, rather than their own, and so it’s perhaps not surprising that you’ll find an earmark for this purpose inside the recent Farm Bill (silly you, thinking that the Farm Bill was about pricing structures for farm commodities), inserted there by Vermont’s own Senator Patrick Leahy, "to create and include the new Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program in the 2008 Farm Bill". The quote comes from a laudatory press release by a national advocacy group calling itself "The Trust for Public Land". 

Does Support for Free Speech Mean Subsidizing Destructive Hate Speech?
By Robert Maynard

The notion that the constitutionally protected right to free speech entitles one to have their views subsidized on a taxpayer supported media outlet is absolutely absurd. This makes about as much sense as claiming that the right to bear arms entitles one to have arms provided to him at other people’s expense. There is no right which would obligate others to subsidize the person claiming that right. We only have the right not to have government interfere with our speech. Furthermore, even if this is a free speech issue, which it clearly is not, such constitutional protections apply only to American citizens not a foreign owned media outlet.

The real issue here is whether the Burlington taxpayers should be forced to subsidize a media outlet widely seen as a propaganda mouthpiece for terrorists and dictatorships. 

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Opposition to Al-Jazeera Equals Support for Dictatorship??

If, as you say, you are defenders of freedom and democracy, why are you opposed to Burlington Telecom providing Al-Jazeera as a channel? Do you not see the utter hypocrisy of your viewpoint? You claim to defend freedom, but only if it expresses viewpoints that you agree with? Your definition of "freedom" seems to resemble that of the Kremlin, not the United States. I guess you long for the days of the politboro, the KGB, the gulags and other trappings of dictatorial leadership.

Democracy should mean having the ability to have access to all information, having the freedom to make up our own minds. If you want to talk about violent propaganda, watch Fox News. Recently one of their panelists advocated the assassination of Barak Obama, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. presidency. Where is your outrage over that? I believe that there are laws against death-threats to Presidential candidates. 

Uber-patriotism is one of the most dangerous things our world faces and your statements are part of that danger. Freedom is precious and inclusive. It cannot be stifled by those who only want one side of the issues publicized. I am a firm proponent of the statement made by one of our Founding Fathers (and here, I paraphrase): "I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend to the death your right to it..." Well, do you believe in freedom, or do you hide behind the word while you wish to dictate what information is available to those of us who are intelligent and aware enough to decide truth for ourselves?

Christopher Hill, Burlington, Vermont


"Education is a private matter between the person and the world of 
knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college." 
-- Lillian Smith (1897-1966) American writer and social critic

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Panels Consider Dropping Al Jazeera TV
By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer, May 27, 2008

For John Stuart, such formulations miss the point. Stuart is spokesman for the 15- to 20-member Defenders Council of Vermont, a Burlington-based group that, he said, "deals with American values, support for the military and basically educating the public about the threats associated with radical Islam."

He wants Al Jazeera off the air. He said Burlington is one of only two cities in the country where the network is available to the public on television. Its availability on the Internet, he said, makes its presence on BT redundant. Stuart said his group's desire to shut down Al Jazeera in Burlington doesn't violate the spirit of the First Amendment. "Indirectly you could say that's an issue," he said, "but I don't believe that at all. A majority (of Americans) understand we're fighting a war and who the enemy is."

He summarized his group's objections to Al Jazeera: "The biggest complaint ," Stuart said of the network, "is they are sympathetic to organizations or ideologies that are contrary to our efforts in the world to put down threats from al-Qaida or the Taliban or various components of Islam which are a threat to Western civilization."

The Coming Anti-Carbon Regime?
From, May 30, 2008

There's no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society.

Thank You, Mr. Pollina
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 31, 2008

When it comes to state and national politics, we believe voters are not served by the narrow constriction of two parties who, increasingly, are trying very hard to control the race, the issues and the candidates. The voters lose when two parties are able to intimidate independents and third party candidates. The voters lose when a party seeks to eliminate a contested primary race or attempts to "settle the issue" months before a convention or an election.

In recent years, we've seen the Vermont state Republican machine anoint Martha Rainville, decrying that she should be the only Republican to challenge Democrat Peter Welch. The party began financing Rainville's campaign even before the voters decided in a Republican primary to choose Rainville over Sen. Mark Shepard of Bennington County. We've seen Progressive David Zuckerman, a member of the House of Representatives, discouraged from running against Welch and Tarrant under the old and tired explanation that Zuckerman would only divide the vote and elect a Republican.

Back To A Feudal Future
From, May 28, 2008

Shutting down the Vermont Yankee plant would be considered a victory for righteousness by those opposed to nuclear power.  It would also send a signal that Vermont is not merely a tough place to do business but, in fact, thoroughly hostile to business.  The state would become a more expensive place to live, work, and visit.  Productive people who are here would leave and those who might have considered coming here would change their minds.  Vermont would travel a long distance toward a day when the state becomes a congenial place for only wealthy people (most of whom make their money -- or had it made for them -- elsewhere), the peasants who do chores for them – splitting firewood, plowing drives, pumping septic tanks, etc. – and employees of the state.

If They Can’t Afford Bread, Let Them Eat Cake
Caledonia Record Editorial, June 02, 2008 

It's been frustrating for the past several years watching the price of gasoline, heating, and diesel fuel rise over two dollars a gallon, then over three dollars, now four dollars with the virtual certainty that it will rise over five and six dollars in the near future, without the people responsible for this price-driving shortage ever being blamed. But, that is what has been happening, and there is no indication that they ever will be held accountable.

The shortage is artificial. There is an ocean of oil under the ocean and in Alaska. There are over a trillion (that's 1,000,000,000,000) barrels of oil in the oil shale in our Midwest and that oil can be extracted for less than $60 a barrel. (The price of oil today is $134 a barrel.) The Chinese are pumping oil as fast as they can less than a mile inside Cuban waters immediately adjacent to U.S. waters where nobody is pumping oil. And God only knows how many trillion cubic feet of natural gas isn't being recovered in the U.S.

A Little Known, But Absolutely Necessary VETO
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 27, 2008

In the waning days of the now-adjourned Legislature, Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed S.270, a bill calling for Vermont to join an interstate compact in which states would agree to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who received the most votes in the nation. His veto was absolutely necessary. If there ever was a move that would have caused a train wreck of what little influence Vermont voters have on federal elections, S.270 is it. Douglas explained in his veto message, "S.270 would fundamentally alter the presidential election method prescribed in the U.S. Constitution and contribute to the undoing of the delicate balance that the Electoral College maintains among the states. I am not willing to cede Vermont's voice in the election, and ultimately in the operations of our federal government, to the influence and interests of larger states that would most assuredly prevail in all but the rarest occasions."

Legislator's Claims are Laughable
By Curtis Hier, Rutland Herald, May 30, 2008

[Partridge] states that: "Over 80 percent of the committee votes to recommend legislation to the full House were unanimous and only a small number — about 5 percent — were what could be characterized as partisan votes." Partridge's statistic doesn't pass the straight-face test. First of all, most bills don't ever get a vote. Hardly any Republican-sponsored bills get a vote of any kind or even committee discussion. Secondly, over 400 House bills were non-binding resolutions...

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Blue Planet in Green Shackles
By Vaclav Klaus, Real Clear Politics, May 28, 2008

To make my position and my message clear, I should probably revoke my personal experience. My today's thinking is substantially influenced by the fact that I spent most of my life under the communist regime which ignored and brutally violated human freedom and wanted to command not only the people but also the nature. To command "wind and rain" is one of the famous slogans I remember since my childhood. This experience taught me that freedom and rational dealing with the environment are indivisible. It formed my relatively very sharp views on the fragility and vulnerability of free society and gave me a special sensitivity to all kinds of factors which may endanger it.

I do not, however, live in the past and do not see the future threats to free society coming from the old and old-fashioned communist ideology. The name of the new danger will undoubtedly be different, but its substance will be very similar. There will be the same attractive, to a great extent pathetic and at first sight quasi-noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of something above him, (of something greater than his poor self), supplemented by enormous self-confidence on the side of those who stand behind it. Like their predecessors, they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea reality. In the past it was in the name of the masses (or of the Proletariat), this time in the name of the Planet. Structurally, it is very similar.

Al Qaeda Discusses Losing Iraq
From The Strategy Page, May 27, 2008

Al Qaeda web sites are making a lot of noise about "why we lost in Iraq." Western intelligence agencies are fascinated by the statistics being posted in several of these Arab language sites. Not the kind of stuff you read about in the Western media. According to al Qaeda, their collapse in Iraq was steep and catastrophic. According to their stats, in late 2006, al Qaeda was responsible for 60 percent of the terrorist attacks, and nearly all the ones that involved killing a lot of civilians. The rest of the violence was carried out by Iraqi Sunni Arab groups, who were trying in vain to scare the Americans out of the country.

Today, al Qaeda has been shattered, with most of its leadership and foot soldiers dead, captured or moved from Iraq. As a result, al Qaeda attacks have declined more than 90 percent. Worse, most of their Iraqi Sunni Arab allies have turned on them,  or simply quit. This "betrayal" is handled carefully on the terrorist web sites, for it is seen as both shameful, and perhaps recoverable.

Afghan Insurgents 'on brink of defeat'
By Thomas Harding in Lashkar Gah,, June 01, 2008

The new "precise, surgical" tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith. In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But it is the "very effective targeted decapitation operations" that have removed "several echelons of commanders". This in turn has left the insurgents on the brink of defeat, the head of Task Force Helmand said.

Have We Been Safer Under Bush? The Empirical Evidence Says Yes
By John Hinderaker, Investors Business Daily, May 28, 2008

It is an article of faith on the left that nothing the Bush administration has done has enhanced our security, and, on the contrary, its various alleged blunders have only contributed to the number of jihadists who want to attack us. Empirically, however, it seems beyond dispute that something has made us safer since 2001. Over the course of the Bush administration, successful attacks on the U.S. and its interests overseas have dwindled to virtually nothing.

Is the Islamic World Rejecting al-Qaeda Theology, Thanks to the War in Iraq?
From Flopping Aces, May 29, 2008

Yet developments in Iraq have seen not only the success of the Surge, but also a rejection of al-Qaeda by all Iraqis including (and especially by) Sunnis; as well as a growing rejection of al-Qaeda theology in the Muslim world, in general. Iraq damaged al Qaeda’s image and any prestige they might have commanded, at one point. Al Qaeda knows this. Why doesn’t Senator Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Ariana Huffington?

Last year, Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, a popular Saudi Islamic scholar criticized Osama bin Laden who once lionized him. Mufti Sheikh Abd Al-’Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the highest Islamic religious authority in Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa prohibiting Saudi youth from engaging in jihad abroad. Tareq Al-Humaid, the editor of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, points out the significance:

"It is true that some of these [young people] have become enslaved by Al-Qaeda and its ideology, and are now beyond hope; however, the importance of the fatwa lies in the impact that it will have on most of the Saudi public, and in particular the fathers and mothers. Its value lies in the fact that it will wrest from the hands of the ‘politicized sheikhs’ the card that they have been using all this time."
Lebanese Democrats Thumb their Noses at Hezb'allah
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, May 29, 2008

The man Hezb'allah has called a "tool of America" and a "dictator" has been re-appointed Prime Minister by the majority March 14th party in Lebanon:... The government majority is making it absolutely clear that they believe in the rule of law and democracy by re-appointing the man who has led them since their electoral victory 3 years ago. They are telling Hezb'allah that you might have veto power in the new cabinet but we were elected by the people and will not give in to threats or intimidation to alter the results of that election.

What Obama Left Out
By William Kristol, The New York Times, June 2, 2008

More striking is Obama's sin of omission. In the rest of the speech, he goes on to detail -- at some length -- the "so many ways to serve" that are available "at this defining moment in our history." There's the Peace Corps, there's renewable energy, there's education, there's poverty -- there are all kinds of causes you can take up "should you take the path of service." But there's one obvious path of service Obama doesn't recommend -- or even mention: military service. ...

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From Elsewhere

The Family is a Fiscal Issue
By Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D., Acton Institute, May 20, 2008

In the modern world of consumer choice divorced from any moral grounding, family policy can seem hopelessly divisive. Some argue that "alternative family forms" are simply private lifestyle choices, comparable to our choices of curtains, cuisine or music. The choice to have children inside or outside marriage is just another personal choice for each individual to make privately. But a recent report from the Institute for American Values shows that these seemingly private decisions can have serious, and expensive, costs for taxpayers. It estimates that The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing amount to at least $112 billion each and every year--more than $1 trillion over a decade. 

A Bleak Future
From Investor's Business Daily, May 29, 2008

Imagine an America where the government decides what profits are acceptable. Imagine our country with the oil industry nationalized. Impossible? Not with Democrats in control of Washington. One California Democrat, saying out loud what many on her side of the aisle have been thinking for some time, has threatened to seize the oil industry.

Asian Countries Begin to Burst the Oil Bubble
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,, May 29, 2008

One by one, countries across Asia and the Middle East are being forced to abandon price controls on fuel and energy, bringing hundreds of millions of consumers face to face with the true market cost of oil. The effect has already begun to chip away at world demand and may ultimately trigger a slide in crude prices.

Quo Vadis, GOP?
By Alex Castellanos, National Review, May 27, 2008

Conservatives do not hate government. We never have. We love life when it is well-governed. We respect the flag, our country, and traditional authority. We like a world where rules are observed and regulations are respected. We revere the order of the church. We respect the lines on the playing field and we stop at traffic lights. We want things to work. We want trains to run on time. We want our lives to be ordered. We want our lives to be governed — just not by others. We want our lives governed by the face we see in the mirror. We want our lives governed by ourselves.

Liberals, similarly, do not love government. What they love is power, especially when it is concentrated in the state and they have their hands on it. Whether that power actually governs anything is immaterial. Yes, they believe in a large and growing public sector. But liberalism’s antique, industrial-age imperative that all authority must be top-down and emanate from the public sector has established a colossal record of failure. The big old machine is broken. Liberalism doesn’t "govern" anything these days.

Obama's Latest Stunning Gaffes
By Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, May 25, 2008

How are we supposed to take this man seriously for the position of commander in chief?  Little Green Footballs snags Obama in a stunning error, and it is not just the name of the town he is in or the number of states. On Friday Barack Obama spelled out his Latin America policy [snip]:

Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples' lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region. 

No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum.

This is pathetic. Hugo Chavez came to power during the Clinton Administration, and was first elected President of Venezuela in 1998, two years before the Bush Administration took office.

Related: The Obama Gaffe Machine

Related: Liberals work to change McCain's image

Climate Reality Bites
From The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this meddling would cause a cumulative reduction in the growth of GDP by between 0.9% and 3.8% by 2030. Add 20 years, and the reduction is between 2.4% and 6.9% – that is, from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion.

Related: Cap and Spend

Earmarks After Dark
From The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2008

Remember those Congressional pledges of earmark reform? Democrats are hoping you don't, as they try to pull a fast one and evade President Bush's pledge to block these special-interest spending projects slipped into legislation without scrutiny.

History will redeem Bush
By Ed Koch, Jewish World Review, May 21, 2008

"The reason I believe history will redeem President George W. Bush is that he is one of the few leaders on the planet today who understands the larger picture. He has not lost his courage and vision of the future. He knows what calamities await the world if it engages in appeasement and deserts an ally in order to buy an illusory peace. We will recognize his worth long after he is gone."

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