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True North Archives - June 19, 2007
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The Lyceum Society of Vermont -- A forum for the discussion of ordered liberty
By N.P. West

The mission of the Lyceum Society of Vermont is to promote the intellectual discussion of principles and ideas essential to the preservation of traditional culture and human liberty, the creation of abundance, and achieving a good and just society.  To that end the Lyceum Society seeks to educate its members and the public about the purpose of ordered liberty and the value of what Russell Kirk referred to as the "permanent things." 

The Coming Veto Battle
by John McClaughry

Public Service Commissioner David O'Brien calculates that the energy savings "could easily repay the loans, making retrofitting the home or business free. All of the savings after that is money back in the pocket of the program participants." Here's a better idea. Use "all of the savings after that" not to give a windfall bonus to homeowners and businesses, but to repay the taxpayers who shelled out the initial $2.5 million. And here's an even better idea that would give both sides a victory: the legislature should uphold the governor's veto of the Shumlin tax, scrap the governor's $2.5 million in subsidized loans, and go home. That would be a good day's work on behalf of taxpayers and common sense.

Miscellaneous Musings
By Pete Behr

A prominent local citizen recently provided me with an example of the progression of complexity in Vermont. He gave me a copy of his tax return for 1975- not that long ago. But it seems like eons must have passed to go from a one page return, which anyone could complete and file without fear of a call from Montpelier, to the monstrosity which is our State tax return today. The Federal income tax return has increased in complexity too, but why did Vermont have to follow suit? As we know, the bureaucrats in Montpelier love complexity- they live off it. But we’re their bosses, right? We elect our legislators, and they pass laws and empower the bureaucrats, so we have only ourselves to blame. I guess we’re a state of masochists. It’s depressing.

Defining Productivity Down (II)
By Martin Harris

You’d think that educators as a class (pun intended) would have high regard for the work of Caroline Hoxby, Harvard University economics professor who has built quite a reputation for her meticulous research into education issues, such as class size and vouchers. They don’t, because her findings have run counter to their preferences. Along with former University of Rochester economics professor Eric Hanushek, she has concluded from actual analyses of student achievement compared to class size, that the now-usual sorts of class size reductions have had no positive impact on student achievement. Likewise, she has offended the educational establishment by showing statistically that public school districts faced with competition from non-public or charter schools, to which students might have access via vouchers, respond to the competitive pressure by making internal improvements in instruction better than public schools not faced with such student choice.

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"Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty."  --Samuel Adams

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Another Politically Correct Denial Of Reality
Caledonian Record Editorial, June 13, 2007

Burlington High School, in a bow to the prevailing liberalism of what is often called the Democratic, Socialist Republic of Chittenden County, has decided not to name a valedictorian or salutatorian of its high school graduating classes from now on. The Burlington School Board ended the more than 100-year tradition of acknowledging the top two students in the class and the class ranking that goes with it. The board did it, they say, to end the competition and the false comparison between the averages of the students in the class.

Time on Their Side? For the Browns, Probably Not
Valley News, 6/14/07

 In any case, one problem with sending dozens of heavily armed agents into a small, rural town along with all the sophisticated equipment needed to support them is that some residents are bound to be frightened, intimidated or angered. This might inadvertently create sympathy for the Browns where none previously existed or even, perversely enough, serve as a link in a chain of circumstance that creates other disaffected Ed Browns -- perennial protesters with nothing much to protest. Moreover, the presence in the streets of large numbers of armed agents of the government, even when necessary, is unsettling in a free society. To whatever extent it can possibly be avoided, it should be.

Douglas's Energy Alternative Makes Sense
Caledonian Record Editorial, June 16, 2007

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas has proposed an energy alternative to the Peter Shumlin plan, which he vetoed and which the Democrats will try to override in July. Douglas has appointed a politically balanced task force of eight citizens to implement his proposal.

Related: Funding scheme trips up climate bill

Vermont Prison System a Growth Industry
By Louis Porter, Vermont Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, June 11, 2007

The Department of Corrections is fast becoming one of the largest employers among the agencies and branches of state government.

Two Small Victories In Montpelier
Caledonia Record Editorial, June 14, 2007

Vermonters have reason to celebrate two small victories in Montpelier at this penultimate end to the legislative session.

A Serious Political Miscalculation
Caledonia Record Editorial, Tuesday June 12, 2007

The no-brainer here is not about the issues. Conceivably, the issues can be debated. The no-brainer is Shumlin's and Symington's total blank in understanding that Vermonters get their dander up when "flatlanders" come up and patronize us hicks with their superior knowledge. That they should kiss up to Al Gore as a strategy to persuade thoughtfully opposed legislators to get on Gore's questionable band wagon is an error in judgment of proportions obviously beyond their ability to understand (see the definition above).

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Radical Islam's "End-Game"
Frank Salvato, Managing Editor, New Media Journal, June 15, 2007

In almost every declaration and action of the Islamofascist, from Osama bin Laden to Hassan Nasrallah, Ayman al Zawahri to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the goal is the same: the successful establishment of a global Islamic state – or Caliphate – ruled under Sharia Law. This notion is not a supposition on my part. Rather, it is an accurate observation, based on understanding and acknowledging the actions taken and the words used by each of these fascist leaders (note the correct usage of the word fascist).

What I Saw in Iraq
Iran remains a problem, but Anbar has joined the fight against terror
By Joseph Lieberman, WSJ Opinion Journal, June 15, 2007 

The question of course is--is it working? Here in Washington, advocates of retreat insist with absolute certainty that it is not, seizing upon every suicide bombing and American casualty as proof positive that the U.S. has failed in Iraq, and that it is time to get out. In Baghdad, however, discussions with the talented Americans responsible for leading this fight are more balanced, more hopeful and, above all, more strategic in their focus--fixated not just on the headline or loss of the day, but on the larger stakes in this struggle, beginning with who our enemies are in Iraq. The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.

New Study: Political Islam Correlated to Support for Terrorism
By Patrick Poole, American Thinker, June 15, 2007

A new study by the US Institute for Peace (USIP) of polling data from fourteen different Muslim countries finds that support for a role for Islam in politics strongly correlates with more likely support for terrorism.

Al-Qaida Fails Sexual Politics
Human Events, 06/13/2007

The "Anbar Awakening," as the split between the Anbar's Sunni tribes and al-Qaida is called, may prove to be a case study in aligning political and cultural considerations with combat security operations. It is certainly an object lesson in al-Qaida's cultural and religious imperialism, as well as outright social clumsiness -- in other words, an example of how al-Qaida does make critical mistakes and how we capitalize on its errors.

Peace In Our Time?
by Chuck Freilich, Human Events, 06/13/2007

Does anyone seriously think that by withdrawing from Iraq the clash with extremist Islam will end? That it won’t follow the U.S. home thereafter? The President’s repeated efforts to make this case go unheard, drowned out by the opposing clamor of the anti-war movement for immediate gratification, bring the troops home and the future be damned!

Our Common Struggle
America had its civil war. Why expect freedom to come easy to Iraq? By NourI Al-Maliki, WSJ Opinion Journal, June 13, 2007 

War being what it is, the images of Iraq that come America's way are of car bombs and daily explosions. Missing from the coverage are the great, subtle changes our country is undergoing, the birth of new national ideas and values which will in the end impose themselves despite the death and destruction that the terrorists have been hell-bent on inflicting on us. Those who endured the brutality of the former regime, those who saw the outside world avert its gaze from their troubles, know the magnitude of the change that has come to Iraq. A fundamental struggle is being fought on Iraqi soil between those who believe that Iraqis, after a long nightmare, can retrieve their dignity and freedom, and others who think that oppression is the order of things and that Iraqis are doomed to a political culture of terror, prisons and mass graves. Some of our neighbors have made this struggle more lethal still, they have placed their bets on the forces of terror in pursuit of their own interests.

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From Elsewhere

Soaking the Rich: A Surcharge on Success
NH Union Leader Editorial, June 10, 2007

Unfortunately, the current Congress wants that revenue and believes that taking it from the "rich" and redistributing it to favored constituencies is moral. If you want to keep your money, you'd better hope you don't get defined as "rich."

Related: 100% Marginal Tax Rate (subscribers only. For others, the article is reprinted in part here)

Green Goodies
It's payback time for another left-leaning lobby
BY Kimberly A. Strassel, WSJ Opinion Journal, June 15, 2007

First came Big Labor. Then the tort lawyers. What special interest lobby remains for the Democratic majority to reward for services rendered this past election? The answer rests in the ecstatic press releases tumbling out of the nation's largest environmental groups, as they oversee the House's pending energy legislation. That is, if "energy" is the right word for West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall's green-payoff of a bill. Ostensibly the legislation is a rollback of any energy production advances of recent years. But also tucked deep in its heart is an extraordinary new tool to allow environmentalists to lock up private property across the country. Bill presented; bill paid.

Democrats' Prosperity Problem
By George F. Will, The Washington Post, June 10, 2007

In the 102 quarters since Ronald Reagan's tax cuts went into effect more than 25 years ago, there have been 96 quarters of growth. Since the Bush tax cuts and the current expansion began, the economy's growth has averaged 3 percent per quarter, and more than 8 million jobs have been created. The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product is below the post-World War II average. Democrats, economic hypochondriacs all, see economic sickness. They should get on with legislating their cure. Twenty-three months after the next president is inaugurated, the Bush tax cuts expire. The winner of the 2008 election and her or his congressional allies will determine what is done about the fact that, unless action is taken, in 2011 the economy will be walloped:

A Ray of Hope in Detroit
American Thinker, June 16, 2007

This is amazing. The Detroit Free Press reports: A new co-ed Catholic high school in Detroit will use innovative partnerships to put students to work at local businesses, with their salaries going to the school to shave thousands of dollars off the cost of each student's tuition.

War Games Reid & Pelosi Should Not Play
NH Union Leader Editorial, Jun. 15, 2007

Majority Leader Harry Reid said earlier this year that the Iraq war was "lost," the political fallout was swift and hard, and Reid and his apologists spent days backtracking and trying to claim that he did not mean what he clearly had meant. Now, emboldened by the radical left, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has joined Reid's defeatism. Both declared this week that the troop surge has "failed."

Fred Thompson and Plain Speaking
By Ray Robison, American Thinker, June 16, 2007

Faced with a media establishment that has heightened its opposition to presenting news that makes Republicans look good, Fred Thompson has that rare and invaluable quality of speaking directly to ordinary Americans, saying what needs to be said.

The Inconvenient Truth about the Carbon Offset Industry
The Guardian, June 16, 2007

In the concluding part of a major investigation, Nick Davies shows how greenhouse gas credits do little or nothing to combat global warming.

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