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True North Archives - July 17, 2007
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The Statehouse Polar Bear Pageant
by John McClaughry

The Menace of Global Warming, like a bad B movie, isn't about science or truth. It's about generating enough public hysteria to justify putting governments in charge of taxing and rationing all human energy use and thus controlling the world's economy.

Some gullible Vermonters will fall for VPIRG's image of the cuddly polar bear, and  keep on clamoring for Sen. Shumlin's legislation. Hopefully, a majority will soon come to recognize this scam for what it is.

The Failure of Vermont Conservatism
By Nathan West

To indict "moderate" or "liberal" Republicans or to cite the seemingly insurmountable success of progressive Vermont elements ignores the central fact that the failure of conservatism is, to put it plainly, the result of a lost opportunity  stemming from a lack of historical consciousness, a historical consciousness that other conservative activists, thinkers, and leaders have tapped into.  The reason for this is that the conservative movement in Vermont has ignored the historical model of the national conservative movement, an error that has caused cultural and political failures, something most glaringly apparent in the aftermath of the 2000 legislative election.

H.520 Stopped, For Now Anyway…
By Mark Shepard

Clearly if they really thought carbon emissions were the source of global warming, they would not enact a new tax on energy that emits no carbon. 

Levying more taxes, creating more government, increasing the cost of energy generation from Vermont's most stable source of carbon-free energy, and undermining the business environment by reneging on previous agreements continues the trend toward making Vermont too expensive for working people to live. Here was H.520 in a nutshell: Vermonters give up more earnings to taxes and energy, while our better paying jobs go elsewhere, forcing people to work multiple jobs. 

Nuclear Terrorism vs. Global Warming
By Robert Skinner

Allison Graham has just written a new book entitled  "Nuclear Terrorism: the Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe."   In the book, Allison warns of Bin Ladin's energetic efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and the likelihood that he will order them detonated on US soil. He describes a nuclear terror scenario where Al Qaeda ships in a nuclear weapon(s) into an American port(s) - say Boston, New York, or Los Angeles - and the rest will be a horrific history for America and mankind. Allison believes this is the prime issue Americans need to be focused upon. One must ask if the Democrats should be attempting to shift the American attention onto Global Warming. Al Gore recently said in an NBC interview that his prime goal is to make Global Warming the most important issue for the 2008 Presidential elections.  I'm certain, Graham Allison, the dean of the JFK school of Government, would disagree. 

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"I can't vote for a tax on one person that would surely be found unconstitutional in court," --Rep. Joyce Errecart/R-Shelburne

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Forbes ranks Vermont 32nd for business
By David Gram, The Associated Press, July 14, 2007

"Obviously, Forbes is a magazine that business leaders read and follow closely. ... If they're dropping our rating that's not a good thing for our economic future," said Kevin Dorn, secretary of the state Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Dorn said lawmakers needed to take to heart Gov. Jim Douglas' pleas that they lower the state's taxes, look for ways to reduce energy costs, loosen regulations and take other steps to make the state more business-friendly.

Legislators Sustain Governor's Veto on Energy Bill
By Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press, July 12, 2007

Democrats came up 12 votes short of overriding the governor's veto of an energy bill in the House on Wednesday, then couldn't quite pull off an effort to resurrect the bulk of the bill.

True Energy Issues Remain
By Damon Brink, Burlington Free Press, July 12, 2007

There is a bigger issue than the funding source for H.520. There is a bigger issue than global warming. It's called the loss of our integrity.... What a travesty. The funding piece of this bill and the way it has been promoted is a shameless, over-reaching, irresponsible, self-indulgent, inaccurate, harmful, neglectful, childish move to try to force, by way of over-simplification and emotional dishonesty, a "solution" that has nothing to do with the "problem."

Another Call for Government Planning
By Art Woolf,, July 11, 2007 

I'm not sure Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union superintendent William Mathis is in the same league as Ellen David Friedman, but he argues that what Vermont needs is a long-term economic plan to deal with the aging population and poor job prospects.  A Five Year Plan, maybe?  I sure hope not.

The Xs, Ys and Zs of Act 60 spell: Y-O-U L-O-S-E
By Ed Shamy, Burlington Free Press, July 8, 2007

The cash flowed, the tykes were educated and everybody went on with the business of incurring debt and shoveling snow. Life was simple for the working stiff. Some loose lips leaked word of the arrangement to the Legislature, and lawmakers were predictably outraged that Vermont citizens were being given unfettered access to their own money.

Missing The Forest For The Trees
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 14, 2007

There is a lot of truth in the old metaphor, "He/she can't see the forest for the trees," i.e. the close-up view masks the greater reality farther away. That's exactly what happened to Peter Shumlin and Gaye Symington and some other Democratic leaders, in their futile effort to sell a personally favorite product to a public whose sales resistance they did not (and do not) understand. They mistook their enthusiasm and the support of the people who elected them (trees) for the will of the people of Vermont (forest).

When Fairness Equals Suppression Of Free Speech
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 10, 2007

Since then, talk radio has sprung up. It is commercial and market sensitive. It lives or dies on its strength in attracting money-paying sponsors. And that strength comes from the army of people who want to hear it. It has been a huge success, then and now, for the conservative point of view, which people clearly want to hear, not being able to hear it from the rest of the media. It has been a huge failure, then and now, for the liberal point of view, which people clearly are tired of. Witness the crashing and burning of Air America in little more than one year. It was a liberal network designed to smother Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and conservative talk radio in general. Nobody wanted to hear it. Nobody listened to it, and its sponsors deserted it one by one.

Influence from the Shadows
By Oliver Olson, Vermont Tiger, July 16th

The more interesting question concerns the supporters of H.520 (I'm speaking of the moneyed interests, not the grassroots supporters). Who are they, what has been their role in the process, and what do they hope to achieve?

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Deserting Petraeus
By Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, July 13, 2007 

Finally, after four terribly long years, we know what works. Or what can work. A year ago, a confidential Marine intelligence report declared Anbar province (which comprises about a third of Iraq's territory) lost to al-Qaeda. Now, in what the Times's John Burns calls an "astonishing success," the tribal sheiks have joined our side and committed large numbers of fighters that, in concert with American and Iraqi forces, have largely driven out al-Qaeda and turned its former stronghold of Ramadi into one of most secure cities in Iraq. It began with a U.S.-led offensive that killed or wounded more than 200 enemy fighters and captured 600. Most important was the follow-up. Not a retreat back to American bases but the setting up of small posts within the population that, together with the Iraqi national and tribal forces, have brought relative stability to Anbar.

Unleashing the Iranian Opposition
by Daniel Pipes, Human Events, July 11, 2007

These factors, combined with the mullah's near-phobic reaction toward the MEK, suggest that the organization presents a formidable tool for intimidating Tehran. Alas, Westerners presently cannot work with the MEK, due to a 1997 decision by the Clinton administration, followed five years later by the European Union, to offer a sop to the mullahs and declare it a terrorist group, putting it officially on a par with the likes of Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hizbullah. A Portuguese member of the European parliament, Paulo Casaca, notes that "Officials on both sides of the Atlantic are on the record as saying that the only reason why the group was put on the U.S. terrorism list in the first place was to send a ‘goodwill gesture' to the Iranian regime." But the MEK poses no danger to Americans or Europeans, and has not for decades. It does pose a danger to the malign, bellicose theocratic regime in Tehran.

Related: Operation Fahrad Al Amin: the Anbar Offensive & Iraq Report: A Look at Iraq Operations»

One Haditha Hero Cleared
David Allender, The American Thinker, July 11, 2007

The Investigative Officer in in the LCpl. Sharratt Article 32 hearing has recommended that murder charges be dropped. This clears one of the defendants in the so-called "Haditha massacre." One innocent man and brave soldier has been spared further agony in this disgraceful prosecution.

Al Qaeda on the Run
Feasting on the movable beast
By Michael Yon, National Review Online, July 11, 2007

In appearance, few might suspect that Abu Ali would stand up to the American military. In talking with the soft-spoken Abu Ali, his manner is similar to that of experienced American combat leaders. He is direct and clear in his speech (through an interpreter), and his intelligence is evident. An intelligent enemy who knows the dangers — who is not part of an insane death-cult promising 72 virgins and eternity with God to martyrs — and yet stands his ground against Americans over a long period, must possess great courage and annealed strength. Even among enemies, those qualities command grudging respect. I told one man in the back of the Stryker that after standing his ground with the Americans and surviving this long; al Qaeda was hopeless when Abu Ali and the 1920s shifted their martial attentions. 

While we were driving in the belly of the Stryker into Buhriz, I asked Abu Ali, "What did you do to al Qaeda?"

Abu Ali said that on April 1, 2007, he and his people attacked al Qaeda in Buhriz for their crimes against Islam. He also said something that many Muslims have said to me: Al Qaeda are not Muslims. (Both Sunni and Shia have said nearly the exact same words, at times on video.) Abu Ali said they fought hard against Al Qaeda, and on April 10, they asked the Americans to join the attack. It worked.

Moving Forward in Iraq
By Kimberly Kagan, Opinion Journal, July 11, 2007

In Washington perception is often mistaken for reality. And as Congress prepares for a fresh debate on Iraq, the perception many members have is that the new strategy has already failed. This isn't an accurate reflection of what is happening on the ground, as I saw during my visit to Iraq in May. Reports from the field show that remarkable progress is being made. Violence in Baghdad and Anbar Province is down dramatically, grassroots political movements have begun in the Sunni Arab community, and American and Iraqi forces are clearing al Qaeda fighters and Shiite militias out of long-established bases around the country. 

Al Qaeda Entrenched in Pakistan, U.S. Officials Say
By David Morgan, Reuters, July 11, 2007

Al Qaeda has become entrenched in a remote corner of Pakistan, and the United States fears a military strike could spawn new militant activity in the country, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Shocka: Half of Foreign Jihadis in Iraq are Saudi
 by Allahpundit, Hot Air, July 15, 2007

They’re paying for the jihad; they might as well help staff it too. No one in the Saudi government knows anything about it, of course, notwithstanding the sophistication of their security apparatus and the fact that mass-casualty attacks inside Iraq coincidentally serve the Saudi end of delegitimizing the Iranian-friendly Shiite government.

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From Elsewhere

Long Term Fiscal Burdens Continue to Pile Up
by Mike Franc, Human Events Online, July 13, 2007

"The most serious threat to the United States," U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has warned, "is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan but our own fiscal irresponsibility." Walker, the federal government's chief auditor, has been traveling across the country like a modern Paul Revere encouraging ordinary Americans to focus on the long-term fiscal threat we face.

Political Liquor's Economic Hangover Just Beginning
By Dr. Henry I. Miller, TCS Daily, July 11, 2007

From pre-school to planning funerals, green is in. Very in. But green policies and decisions need to be based on more than a vague desire to save the planet. The principles of the natural sciences and economics must play an essential role -- a part of policy-making that often eludes politicians. The latest examples are the federal government's efforts to reduce the United States' dependence on imported oil (now more than 60 percent) by shifting a big share of the nation's largest crop, corn, to the production of ethanol for fueling automobiles. Good goal, bad policy. In fact, in the short- and medium-term, ethanol can do little to reduce the vast amount of oil that is imported, and the ethanol policy will have widespread and profound ripple effects on other commodity markets. Corn farmers and ethanol refiners are ecstatic about the ethanol boom, of course, and are enjoying the windfall of artificially enhanced demand. But it is already proving to be an expensive and dangerous experiment for the rest of us.

Is the US No Place to Do Business?
The American Thinker, July 14, 2007

Samizdata makes the not unreasonable case that the penchant for criminalizing business decisions is making the US an unfavorable venue for publicly held companies:

A Culture War of Words
By Michael Reagan, Human Events Online, July 13, 2007

America is facing an army of foul-mouthed, tattooed guttersnipes who have the gall to proclaim they want to save the planet by putting on performances laced with some of the foulest language ever heard from a stage.

The Global Flat tax Revolution
Cato Institute Policy Report July/August 2007

In the early 1990s, Rep. Dick Armey (RTX) proposed a flat tax. He would have junked the Internal Revenue Code and replaced it with a system designed to raise revenue in a much less destructive fashion. The core principles were to tax income at one low rate, to eliminate double taxation of saving and investment, and to wipe out the special preferences, credits, exemptions, deductions, and other loopholes that caused complexity, distortions, and corruption. The flat tax never made it through Congress, but it's been adopted by more than a dozen other countries since 1994. It's unfortunate that the United States is missing out on the tax reform revolution. Instead of the hundreds of forms demanded by the current tax system, the Armey flat tax would have required just two postcards. Households would have used the individual postcard to pay a 17 percent tax on wages, salary, and pensions, though a generous family-based allowance (more than $30,000 for a family of four) meant that there was no tax on the income needed to cover basic expenses.

Breaking the Oil Habit
By Richard Miniter, Hudson Institute, July 12, 2007

For too long, we have been paralyzed with fear that the Arabs would turn off the oil spigot. We feel that the oil barons have an Achilles' heel: terrorists rely on rulers who only have one source of wealth and power—oil. Minus oil, the total value of the non-petroleum exports of the 22 members of the Arab League plus Iran is less than the exports of Finland. Without oil, the main exports of the Near East would be carpets, dates and honey. How can we get there? Let's start with transportation. The U.S. Air Force gulps down 70% of all oil consumed by the American government, mostly jet fuel. (Those who argue that Iraq is a war for oil have it backwards: we use more oil fighting in Iraq than we could ever hope to import from it.)

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