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True North Archives - July 07, 2009
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Featured Articles

Acknowledging Reality
By Tom Licata

Shakespeare said:  "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves…"  We have lived beyond our means and difficult decisions must be made.  Old ways of doing business, political and otherwise, must end.

The economic facts laid out here today are the equivalent of those hundred ships spotted off New York’s coast on the night of July 1st, 1776.

As John Adams said:  "Now is the time, the facts are inescapable, the people are for it, we are not so much declaring as acknowledging reality."

Cognitive Dissonance (Not) Part I
By Martin Harris

Webster's defines CD in terms of the "anxiety" it causes the conflicting-concepts believer, while Wikipedia prefers "uncomfortable feeling".  By that measure, the G-L's, such as the A-I's page 12A writers) who enthuse over both grow-your-own and smart-growth aren't suffering from CD at all; they seem to be quite happy in their dual (and conflicting) convictions, even though they never mention both in the same sentence. I suspect the "root cause" (a little borrowed G-L lingo, there) derives more from contemporary politics and fashion than from ancestrally-inherited devotions to either "the land" or "the city", and reflects simply a widely-used approval-seeking tactic: telling various identity-groups what they want to hear, at the time you're facing each of them. For a prime current example, consider the new Ed Commissioner's "fire some teachers" declaration. Next week.

A Modern Declaration Of Independence
By Jessica Bernier

The nature of our sentiments regarding The United States is manifest in our deeply held regard for the Ideals which she has but recently, so proudly hailed– Personal Liberty, Justice and above all Freedom. It is for the protection of these Ideals our Founders established the government set forth in the Constitution of the United States, based on the precepts of Liberty as recorded in our Declaration of Independence. Our rights and freedoms stem from our nature as men, not from the governments we choose to establish among ourselves. The legitimate and noble role of government is the defense of those rights from violation or infringement- be the perpetrator our fellow man or a tyrant.

Fat Cat Pat Wants 42 Years: Running Again in 2010
By Rob Roper

In that same spirit of reading the page before we turn it, the Vermont Republican Party calls on Senator Patrick Leahy to demand that the sealed records regarding the investigation of Leahy's leaking of classified material, which reportedly caused the death of at least one undercover operative and ultimately led to Leahy's forced resignation from the Senate Intelligence Committee, be opened. Vermonters, after all, deserve the chance to acknowledge what was done in our name.

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"The U.S. Mint honored Abe Lincoln Friday with a new image of him on the penny. It shows him sitting on a log as a young man, studying a textbook. The teachers' union is angry at the mint for advertising that you can get a better education without them."  -- Humorist Argus Hamilton

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Tea Party Protesters Call for Change
By Candace Page, the Burlington Free Press, July 5, 2009

The Tea Party was one of six rallies held around Vermont on Independence Day and one of many held around the country. The national Tea Party movement was launched earlier this year to protest what organizers called "out-of-control spending at all levels of government."

In St. Albans, at least, those who gathered had a much broader agenda, voicing opposition not just to taxes and higher spending but to the climate change bill before Congress, gay marriage and the erosion of traditional values.

If there was a central sentiment in the room it was that participants feel their ideas, their political convictions, their world view is ignored by the people elected to represent them.

A Funeral For The Messenger
From the Caledonia Record, June 30, 2009

More factual evidence that educational choice works has emerged from the education world. A recent study by McKinsey & Co., a highly reputable management consulting firm, revealed some startling facts about school choice. McKinsey discovered that the achievement gaps in American public schools are not limited to poor children in impoverished neighborhoods, but are common to most students in most public schools.

Surprise! Tax Rates Actually Matter!
From Vermont Tiger, July 06, 2009

More than a decade ago, I had lunch in Seattle with a veteran investment banker. I got an incredible number of gems of wisdom out of that hour - but one of the best was, "Make sure that you’re supporting a business - not a lifestyle." That was stated as advice for investors when looking at potential business-building investments; however, in reality that advice applies more widely.

If disconnected mandarins in Washington DC and the various state capitols think that they can ignore these inter-jurisdictional tax competition issues because the numbers simply can’t possibly matter…. then they are basically insisting that commerce exists to support lifestyles (especially theirs). And Tim Horton’s sensible and responsible fiduciary decision will be just the beginning…

Big Wind Fails in Vermont
By Stanley Shapiro, Rutland Herald, July 5, 2009

When big wind came to my town, I was caught by surprise. Tinmouth held a meeting in April after someone stumbled on a Web site for a proposal called Vermont Community Wind Farm (VCWF). ...

Since the discovery of the project, VCWF owner Per White-Hansen and his public relations representative, Jeffrey Wennberg have presented their project and answered questions to Select Boards in Tinmouth, Ira, Poultney, West Rutland, Clarendon, Middletown Springs and the Regional Planning Commission.

The more I learn, the more opposed I have become to the business of big wind.

No So Fats
From Vermont Tiger, July 02, 2009

Obesity, and being overweight, can lead to many costly medical complications and that's one reason health care costs are rising.  Health care reform legislation is going to have a difficult time accomplishing the goal of limiting the increase in health care costs if a lot of those costs are due to choices we make.

Too Many Taxes to Make Move
By Cort Jones, Mendon, Rutland Herald, July 5, 2009

Between the cost of permitting and the high tax burdens, why would anyone want to move here? The risks are too great and the rewards too small.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Clerical Leaders Defy Ayatollah on Iran Election
By Michael Slackman and Nazila Fathi, New York Times, July 4, 2009

An important group of religious leaders in Iran called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate on Saturday, an act of defiance against the country’s supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the country’s clerical establishment.

White House Silent as North Korea Launches Missiles on U.S. Independence Day
From July 04, 2009

The Obama White House has made clear in the past its impatience with North Korea for the communist country's provocative rhetoric and displays of firepower, but so far Saturday, the administration -- possibly by design -- has remained silent on Korea's latest missile barrage.

North Korea launched seven mid-range missiles off its eastern coast, presumably timed to coincide with the United States' Independence Day. It was a show of firepower that echoed a North Korea's missile launch three years ago that also fell on the Fourth of July holiday.

'What can they do except kill people?': Poll shows Pakistanis have turned against Taliban, Al Qaeda
From the Associated Press, July 1st 2009

More than 80% of Pakistanis view the Taliban and Al Qaeda as a critical threat to the country, according to an opinion poll released Wednesday, marking a turn in public opinion that stands to bolster the army's ongoing offensive against militants close to the Afghan border.

How War Fighting Became Law Enforcement
Obama Goes to Court, Part III: 9/11 and the McCain Amendment.
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, June 17, 2009

In Part I of this article, Andrew C. McCarthy showed how Miranda warnings grew from a procedural safeguard into an inviolable constitutional right. In Part II, he explained how judges and the Justice Department expanded this right to the point where it applied to terrorists captured abroad. Here, in the final part, he describes how the odd couple of John McCain and Barack Obama have put the nation in great danger by turning the War on Terror into something resembling a police investigation.

Iran Linked to International Terror; Media Snoozes
From Pajamas Media, July 1, 2009

Ever since the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, the American public and the media have demanded a nearly unreachable standard of proof before indicting a foreign government. When someone calls Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, proof that they are "linked" to al-Qaeda is demanded. Once al-Qaeda’s refuge in Iran is offered as a counterpoint, proof that the regime knows of their presence and that the group isn’t merely working with "rogue elements" of the government, but the government as a whole, is required. Then, inevitably, the topic is diverted to Afghanistan and Pakistan, arguing that whatever base of support the group has in Iran pales in comparison to those theaters, and besides, the Shiite Iranian government would never want to risk Western retaliation by being so dumb as to support its Sunni arch-nemesis al-Qaeda!

In the world of intelligence, it is extremely rare to come by the "smoking gun" now commonly requested. Luckily, several such smoking guns have emerged, but now we encounter a new problem — the fact that the media won’t report on them.

From Kabul to Baghdad -- and Back
By Tony Blankley, Town Hall, July 1 2009

This week, American troops start leaving Iraqi cities in compliance with both former President George W. Bush's negotiated start date for withdrawal and President Barack Obama's campaign pledge. Given Bush's profound commitment to succeed in Iraq, if he were still in office and if he judged such a scheduled removal of troops to be dangerous, he doubtlessly would have postponed the action -- just as he changed his strategy and ordered the surge against the advice of most of his government and most of Washington in 2007.

Yet it was that surge and the changed strategy designed and led by Gen. David Petraeus that left Iraq at noon Jan. 20 largely peaceful and on a steady march to a stable, friendly, representative government.

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From Elsewhere

The Paradox of Liberty
By Kevin E. Schmiesing Ph.D., Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, July 1 2009

There is a paradox at the heart of liberty, a tension between our desiring what is good and our willingness to sacrifice true happiness for fleeting satisfaction. "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom," abolitionist Wendell Phillips said. Lord Acton echoed the idea, calling liberty, "the delicate fruit of a mature civilization." ...

Yet the temptation to trade liberty for other apparent goods is ever-present. Radical equality appears as a desirable goal; lurking behind the veil is power for a few and lowered status for the rest. Financial security without personal cost similarly appeals; but it too will be revealed in time to be illusory, material prosperity finally failing along with the freedom of self-direction.

Sen. Inhofe Calls for Inquiry Into 'Suppressed' Climate Change Report
By Judson Berger,, June 29, 2009

Republicans are raising questions about why the EPA apparently dismissed an analyst's report questioning the science behind global warming. 

America’s Ranking Crisis
By Jack O'Connor, Open Market, July 01, 2009

Much ink has been spilled over the claim that the US is "falling behind" in broadband. Most of that rhetoric centers around a single statistic: the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranks the US 15th in the world in broadband connections per capita. The accuracy of that ranking has been criticized (as have other measures of our alleged lag), but today we’re going to play ball. Suppose the United States is 15th. So what?

Why Do People Trust The Internet More?
By John Zogby,, June 16, 2009

The results come from two Zogby Interactive surveys taken in the past month, one in conjunction with 463 Communications and the other a Zogby project. One question produced a particularly curious result. We asked which of the four primary information sources was most reliable. The Internet was way out front with 37%, with the others closely bunched as follows: television 17%, newspapers 16% and radio 13%. ...

Therein may be the answer as to why people see the Internet as a more reliable source. The Internet allows people to seek information from thousands of blogs, aggregators and social networks, and to migrate to those that share their point of view. The information received may originate from the same old media, but it is wrapped in designer packaging that matches personal tastes and ideologies.

Our Melting President
By Bruce Walker, American Thinker, July 01, 2009

It is not the soft, fluffy feelings about Obama that really matter.  It is the intense feelings about him.  Obama began his presidency with a lot of very enthusiastic support.  About forty-five percent of Americans "strongly approved" of the job he was doing, while an anemic fifteen percent of Americans "strongly disapproved" of the job he was doing.  In a couple of months, that gap between the "strongly approve" and "strongly disapprove" closed to a gap of between eight and ten points.  The number who strongly approved glided down into the high thirties, while the number who strongly disapproved just about doubled, into the low thirties.

Helen Thomas: Not Even Nixon Tried to Control the Media Like Obama
By Penny Starr and Fred Lucas, CNS News, July 01, 2009

Following a testy exchange during Wednesday’s briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas told that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way President Obama is trying to control the press.

A Union Promotion: An Enemy of Education Reform gets Kicked Upstairs
From the Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2009

Ms. Weingarten has been elevated to president of the national American Federation of Teachers from head of its New York City affiliate, and she had some notable parting words: "One of the most rewarding (and exhausting) things about working in public education in New York City is that it is the best laboratory in the world for trying new things."  Well, it could be, if it weren't for Ms. Weingarten's union. Since taking over in 1998, she has done everything she could to block significant reforms to New York's public schools.

Behind the Times: There’s Nothing Cool About Obama
By Mark Steyn, National Review Online, July 4, 2009

Last week, the donut chain Tim Hortons, which operates on both sides of the border but is incorporated in the state of Delaware, announced that it was reorganizing itself as a Canadian corporation to take advantage of Canadian tax rates. “To take advantage of Canadian tax rates”? What kind of cockamamie phrase is that? And who’d have thought any columnist south of the border would ever have cause to type it?

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