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True North Archives - August 19, 2008
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A Survey of the Conservative Movement in Vermont
By Nathan West 

The success of the conservative movement in Vermont has been slight.  There was a momentary victory in 2000 when the GOP took back the state house.  And its most successful political leader has been Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, a Republican who has easily won reelection every time he has run (a rare thing for a conservative to do in liberal Vermont).  His gains, however, have not been replicated in other races as former congressional candidates Greg Parke and Mark Shepard can attest to (unfortunately the GOP has such a shallow bench that this year they were unable to come up with a candidate to run against Democratic incumbent Peter Welch).

Whether the conservative movement can thrive in the future without being a voice in the wilderness remains to be seen.  A few organizations and blogs does not a movement make, but it is a start.

A Tale of Two Villages
By Martin Harris

By far the most important is the modern-highway bypass: Jonesborough has one, less than a half-mile out of town; Brandon doesn’t. The bypass corridor is where large-scale retail has set up, big stores and big parking lots, so that heavy vehicular traffic is kept out of a fairly constricted little business district, while consumer spending and property tax revenues are kept within the municipal jurisdiction.

Barack Can’t Handle the Truth
By Rob Skinner

Obama is proving to be just another sliver tongued politician with a mind that manipulates a  malleable truth for his own purposes while he misdirects our attention from one problem that Obama judges as unsolvable to another problem he promises he can fix.  This isn't a "change" for the good Obama loves to lament about. It's the old and the tired  political shell game used time and time against to bamboozle us.   But Obama does it with such style and charm he gets away with it - but for how long ? As with Obama and the other political tricksters when the politics becomes big enough, expensive enough and bold enough even Barack Obama throws the truth under the bus. As goes the adage stated in various ways: "In high stakes politics the truth is the first casualty of political war."

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"We shall divert through our own Country a branch of commerce which the European States have thought worthy of the most important struggles and sacrifices, and in the event of peace on terms which have been contemplated by some powers we shall form to the American union a barrier against the dangerous extension of the British Province of Canada and add to the Empire of liberty an extensive and fertile Country thereby converting dangerous Enemies into valuable friends." --Thomas Jefferson

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Good Article, Wrong Headline
From, August 17, 2008

The Rutland Herald's Peter Hirschfeld points out the obvious:  people, especially low income people, are going to face a tough winter, with high heating oil prices.  And high gas prices means they're paying more to travel.  They are meeting that challenge by driving less.  How they'll meet the winter heating challenge has yet to be determined. But the article's subheadline (or whatever it is that journalists call it) is:

Vermont's Middle Class Shrinks as Economy Sours
I'll grant that the economy is souring.  But is the middle class shrinking?  There's absolutely no evidence for that in the article. I've written about the issue here and here.  The retired couple profiled in the article appear to be a middle class family justifiably concerned about high gas and fuel oil prices. But representative of a shrinking middle class?  Hardly. 

Vermont Must Pass Jessica’s Law
Caledonia Record Editorial, August 15, 2008

Throughout past legislative sessions, the House Judiciary Committee has sat in the middle of the road and killed passage of Jessica's Law. Jessica's Law is based on the 2007 kidnapping, rape, and murder of 7-year-old Jessica Lunsford of Florida. It makes a 25-year prison sentence mandatory for aggravated sexual assault upon a child....

Enough is enough. Vermont must pass Jessica's law as one of the Legislature's first orders of business next January. We have heard from a lot of decent people that such a mandatory sentence might discourage plea bargaining and make convictions harder to get, but the counter to that legitimate concern is its opposite, as we were horrified to learn from the sentences levied on sexual predators by judges Edward Cashman and David Howard. Cashman sentenced the serial rapist of a 6-year-old girl to 60 days in jail, and Howard sentenced a man who molested a 4-year-old boy to no jail time at all.

Emergency Surgery For Catamount?
From, August 13, 2008

As, for instance, Catamount premiums which, "range between $60 and $393 a month depending on a person's income."

If you can find private insurance in Vermont for those rates, please e-mail us so we can enroll.  Catamount is subsidized health care insurance.   And if you want to get off your current private insurance and onto Catamount and save some money ... well, tough, you can't.  That's one reason the state requires a waiting period.  It needs people on private insurance to pay the bills of the people who are otherwise "covered."  This is done through the magic of something called the "cost shift."

And even so, Catamount is failing.  No amount of finger pointing and no new studies – full of precise, if bogus, numbers – will change that.

Approach to Sex Offenders Marks Sharp Contrast Between Republicans and Democrats
From The VTGOP Big Tent, August 15, 2008

Governor Douglas and Lieutenant Governor Dubie have taken a strong lead on the question of how to deal with violent sexual predators, calling for a Jessica’s Law for Vermont, civil confinement, and an expanded sex offender registry. This week, Gaye Symington held a press conference to weigh in on the issue. Conspicuously absent from her proposal were all of these measures. 

While her opposition to the first two points illustrates how out of touch Symington and her supermajority in the legislature are with the people of Vermont, her opposition to an expanded sex offender registry is particularly disturbing.  The goal of an expanded registry would be to educate parents and communities with more, easily accessible information about who and where sex offenders are. 

Properly warning citizens about potentially dangerous situations should be a no-brainer. However, Gaye Symington’s proposal shows that she prefers to leave parents in the dark about known sexual predators living in their neighborhoods. Placing the privacy of pedophile criminals above the safety our children is unacceptable. Symington’s lack of trust in parents and Vermont communities is insulting.

But this secrecy and lack of trust is a pattern with Gaye Symington. She clearly doesn’t like it when rank and file Vermonters know too much, whether it’s about her own families financial dealings or the convicted child molester down the street. Like most members of her party, she believes government knows best, and the people can’t be trusted with information or to do the right thing. Unfortunately, when dealing with sexual predators, what we don’t know can hurt us or the ones we love.

In his campaign kick-off speech, Governor Douglas said that Vermonters deserve a government that’s by their side, not on our back. Though he made this comment in the context of economic issues, it is equally applicable to community safety.  Where our children’s safety is concerned, we parents and communities need a partner in government, not an obstacle fighting to keep us ignorant. Republicans have shown that they will be the former, and Gaye Symington and her supermajority are showing themselves to be the latter.

A Familiar Case In Our Courts
Caledonia Record Editorial, August 13, 2008

It has been one of our teeth-grinding observations for a long, long time that Vermont's criminal justice system does not yield sentences on criminals proportionate to their crimes. Over and over, these convicted miscreants get away with a slap on the wrist. 

Come To Vermont And Start A Career In Car Parking
From, August 11, 2008

While some may argue that this means government should expand these programs, the simple fact is that the demand for these programs exists because the Vermont economy continues on a slow, spiraling downfall. Without a vibrant economy that provides jobs, incomes, and subsequent tax revenues to the state, we will continue to see a demographic base in Vermont that is well below the national average in terms of income and opportunity, and we will continue to see its citizens reduced to "states of dependence."

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Brave Old World
In a world without America, the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must
By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, August 11, 2008

The United States may be the most free, stable, and meritocratic nation in the world, but its resources and patience are not unlimited. Currently, it pays more than a half trillion dollars per year to import $115-a-barrel oil that is often pumped at a cost of about $5.

The Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans hold trillions of dollars in U.S. bonds — the result of massive trade deficits. The American dollar is at historic lows. We are piling up staggering national debt. Over 12 million live here illegally and freely transfer more than $50 billion annually to Mexico and Latin America.

Our military, after deposing Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam, is tired. And Americans are increasingly becoming more sensitive to the cheap criticism of global moralists. But as the United States turns ever so slightly inward, the new globalized world will revert to a far poorer — and more dangerous — place.

China's March Against Religious Freedom
By Ray Nothstine, Acton Institute, August 13, 2008

In recent decades, China has pursued market reforms and free trade, which has greatly improved living conditions and pulled many Chinese into the middle class. While the expansion of economic freedom in China has been significant, religious and political freedoms may be trending backwards since the start of Olympic preparation in Beijing. Trying to shed the long shadow of Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, China promised improvements in human rights leading up to the games, but has instead used the occasion to crack down on those seeking religious and political freedom.

The Lights Went Out
Georgia and the world
By Michael Ledeen, National Review, August 14, 2008

"The Kremlin is not about to reignite the Cold War for the love of a few thousand Ossetians... This is calculated strategic maneuvering... it’s about countering U.S. power at its furthest stretch with Moscow’s power very close to home." That means the Czech Republic, for example, which saw its oil flow from Russia abruptly terminated after Prague agreed to base American radars on its territory, and now sees the steel in the Russian fist. It also means Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the current locus of the war against the terror masters. If the Russians succeed in their broader aim of dominating the region, then the ‘stans will inevitably be "doomed for the foreseeable future to remain (Russian) colonies in all but name...." Worse still, "choking off the bottleneck in the Caucasus gives Iran and Russia much say over our efforts in Afghanistan."

As the West Sleeps, Islamists Work on Establishing a Worldwide Islamic State(Part I of II)
By M. Zuhdi Jasser, Family Security Matters

While we in the West sleep, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, is whispering in Arabic to hundreds of millions of Muslims how to establish Islamic states. In July he wrote two extensive columns (on July 13th and July 22nd) on the subject of the Islamic state in Arabic. Some Islamist apologists who remain ignorant of the threat of the Islamic state argue that the ascendancy of political Islam in the Muslim world is the better of "other evils" that could arise. Many Muslims and non-Muslims alike across the world, however, believe that it is self-evident that the ascendancy of political Islam will remain a significant security threat to the United States and to the West for decades to come as it has been so obviously so for anti-Islamist Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the Middle East.

Al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan rumored killed in Pakistan
By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, August 12, 2008

Unconfirmed reports from Pakistan indicate that Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, has been killed during the heavy fighting in Pakistan's tribal agency of Bajaur.

Mission Not Yet Accomplished
By the Editors, National Review, August 13, 2008

The turn in the war has created a large constituency for declaring victory, since the Right is accustomed to having to trumpet good news, lest no one else do it, while the Left seeks any excuse to leave — and victory will have to do if defeat is no longer an option. The danger is that the irrational pessimism that has so long characterized the conversation over the war is giving way to an irrational exuberance that will make us lose focus on the work that remains to be done.

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From Elsewhere

What Has Happened to Air Pollution Since 1970?
From The Unbroken Window, August 12th, 2008

It should be recognized that the American environment, on the whole, is much cleaner than most places around the world. Certainly the environmental destruction revealed by the unveiling of the iron curtain dispelled any notions that love and central planning are better for the environment than commercial society.

The Global Warming Scare may have Peaked
By Thomas Lifson, American Thinker, August 16, 2008

New Jersey State Assemblyman Michael Doherty has earned a place in the history books. So far as I know, he is the first politician to call openly for repeal of economically harmful legislation deriving from the global warming scare.

Palin's Gas Pipeline Isn't Hot Air
From Investor's Business Daily, August 15, 2008

As congressional Democrats dither on a vote for oil drilling, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has pushed through a gas pipeline project to bring new supply and price relief to the lower 48.

ACT scores down, but more students college-ready
By Justin Pope, Associated Press, August 13, 2008

Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam dipped slightly for the high school class of 2008 as the number of students taking the exam jumped by 9 percent compared to last year.

One Way To Get More Oil: Do Nothing
By Thomas Pyle, August 11, 2008

But here's a news flash: If our elected representatives in Congress simply do nothing, three decades of failed anti-energy policies will disappear. A ban on drilling in America's outer continental shelf (OCS) is set to expire on Oct. 1.

How McCain Won Saddleback
By Byron York, National Review, August 17, 2008

This was not your usual political TV show. Warren — Pastor Rick, around here — asked big questions, about big subjects; he wasn’t concerned about what appeared on the front page of that morning’s Washington Post. And his simple, direct, big questions brought out something we don’t usually see in a presidential face-off; in this forum, as opposed to a read-the-prompter speech, or even a debate focused on the issues of the moment, the candidates were forced to call on everything they had — the things they have done and learned throughout their lives. And the fact is, John McCain has lived a much bigger life than Barack Obama. That’s not a slam at Obama; McCain has lived a much bigger life than most people. But it still made Obama look small in comparison. McCain was the clear winner of the night.

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