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True North Archives - August 21, 2007
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Featured Articles

Saving Farms
By Bruce Shields

The strategy of Anti-Modernists in Vermont presently is to extract from the market a premium price to offset their expense of foregoing technology.  So long as this is a promotional tactic to provide extra support from wealthier patrons, there is no social harm -- it is equivalent to William Morris’s persuading the super rich of his day to pay fabulous sums for handmade arts and crafts.  The vast majority of Victorian people were very happy to secure durable and well made materials mass produced on machinery.  But Vermont’s Anti-Modernists seem determined also to outlaw the technology they eschew.  To the extent they are successful, they will reverse all the social, public health, and economic benefits which have flowed to society at large as result of our improvements in agricultural technology. 

Parsing Dorn
by Martin Harris

It’s in the nature of politics, I suppose, for any chief executive officer, in response to the publication of adverse news about his command, to send forth one of his lieutenants to spin the publicity as favorably as possible. Thus, when Forbes Magazine published yet another of those state-by-state comparisons which show Vermont near the top of the pile in various aspects of taxation and expenditure and near the bottom of the pile in various indicators of business growth and capital formation, it wasn’t much of a surprise when Montpelier reacted, predictably, in now-standard public-relations fashion. The Eagle (and other newspapers) were quickly offered for publication a "timely op-ed from Commerce and Community Development Director Kevin Dorn providing his perspective on this ranking…"

A Pioneering Step?
By Steve Cable

In the 1960’s, under familiar banners of "a step forward" and "personal freedoms," the United States changed dramatically. Younger generations sought to re-engineer society, demolishing the societal self restraints of nearly 400 years of American Christianized culture, especially in the area of sexual morality. The result? A hedonistic explosion of sexual license, violence, and crime. In the 21-year period from 1960 to 1981 – less than one generation - profound changes occurred...

The Political Process in Vermont
Don Griffes

Political party organizations are the engine that makes our political process work. The party system in Vermont would work much better, however, if more people really understood it. Every two years political parties re-organize and begin the process of developing their philosophy.

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"[A]ppointing anyone firmly opposed to same-sex marriage was not considered." Speaker Gaye Symington on appointing people to the commission to study whether to bring same sex marriage to Vermont. (All 10 members of this supposedly unbiased committee are supporters of same sex marriage)

"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have." Ronald Reagan

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Better Start Riding A Bicycle, August 14, 2007 

Why in Hell, one wonders, can't one of the most robustly taxed states in the nation afford to keep its roads and bridges in good repair? The state "needs" many things.  What it needs, above all, is a sound, pro-growth approach to the state's economy and the sense to refrain from sticking its hands ever deeper into the pockets of taxpayers who are more and more inclined to hit the road -- potholes or not -- for places where they are allowed to keep enough of what they earn to buy a house. 

Symington v. Shumlin on the Gas Tax
From Rob Roper, August 13, 2007

SHE SAID: "We have to have a number of issues back on the table. Certainly we need to consider the revenues that support our infrastructure." (Valley News, August 9, 2007) In an August 13 press release, Symington proposes, "higher gas tax or other revenues, cutting general fund spending to send more funds to the t[ransportation]-fund, more efficient design methods, less spending on new road projects." 

HE SAID:  "Who wants a gas tax. I don't want a damn gas tax."(Rutland Herald, 8/14/2007, Debate flares over gas tax). Earlier this year, noting that Vermont’s economy could not support more that $5-20 million in new taxes, Shumlin said, "And we don’t have it [tax capacity] anyway. We’re maxing out, mostly, the income tax, the sales tax, the rooms-and-meals tax, the cigarette tax, the beer tax — you name it, we’ve done it. (VDB, March 20, 2007)

Related: Minority Leader Calls on Majority to Withdraw Gas Tax Proposal

Ages and wages
Brattleboro Reformer, August 15

As everyone knows, it's not easy to live in Vermont. The cost of living is high, but wages aren't. People who decide to live here have more or less made the decision that their quality of life is more important than making gobs of money. But there gets to be a point of diminishing returns, and you can't eat scenery or buy groceries with a mountain view. Web sites and mixers won't attract workers. Jobs that pay a decent wage, housing that workers can afford and a tax burden that is reasonable will attract workers. That will ultimately be the way out of Vermont's supposed demographic crisis. 

PSB Approval Of The Sheffield Wind Farm
Caledonia Record Editorial, August 10, 2007

More important, despite the prevailing dogma of the environmentalists that proclaims wind energy the natural savior of the globally warming world, the towers wouldn't exist except for the huge tax subsidies their owners will enjoy. It's not about electric power; it's about money. Next, the wind towers will produce power for only about 11 percent of the time. The rest of the time, the wind isn't there, and the power that isn't produced by them will have to be replaced by current, allegedly inefficient, global-warming plants. Net benefit to energy efficiency? None.

Commission Members All Support Same-Sex Marriage
By Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press, August 12, 2007

The Rev. Craig Benson, who opposes same-sex marriage, called the panel a "kangaroo commission" and said the makeup suggests the outcome is predetermined. … Symington said appointing anyone firmly opposed to same-sex marriage was not considered, because that would have been counterproductive.

Related: Same-sex marriage needs open debate, Burlington Free Press Editorial, August 19, 2007

Write If You Find Work ... And Affordable Housing, August 10, 2007

Confronted with the challenge of luring young people who have left, back to Vermont, the administration, of course, has a marketing plan that is certain to convince these self-exiled young people that chicken feathers, in reality, taste just like chicken salad. 

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Iran's Restive Populace
By Nicole Sadighi, The American Thinker, August 12, 2007

We now have a much better picture of the Iranian people's political attitudes, thanks to a poll sponsored by the Center for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights. Popular discontent with the mullahs' rule has created an opportunity for regime change, if we have the wit and the will to exploit it.

On the Move
By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, National Review Online, August 16, 2007

Regardless of setbacks on the ground, al Qaeda could beat the U.S. in Iraq if American political will collapses. Al Qaeda is keenly aware of the domestic political debate, and will do all they can to force a withdrawal by escalating violence in Iraq.

On the Brink
By Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, August 14, 2007

Our military has increasing moral authority in Iraq, but the same cannot be said for our government at home. In fact, it’s in moral deficit because many Iraqis are increasingly frightened we will abandon them to genocide. The Iraqis I speak with couldn’t care less what is said from Washington but large numbers of them pay close attention to what some Marine Gunny says, or what American battalion commanders all over Iraq say. Some of our commanders could probably run for local offices in Iraq, and win.

Three Marks on the Horizon
By Michael Yon, National Review Online, August 13, 2007

There may be little progress on political goals crafted in America, to meet American concerns, by politicians resting on a 200+ year cushion of history. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were no progress on that front. One thing I have come to know about Iraqis, be they Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, or Christian, is they don’t respond well to rules imposed from outside their acknowledged authorities. 

But to say this means there has been no political progress in Iraq in 2007 is patently absurd, completely wrong and dangerously dismissive of the significant changes and improvements happening all across Iraq. Whether or not Americans are seeing it on the nightly news or reading it in their local papers, Iraqis are actively writing their children’s history.

Will Petreaus Call For a 'Pullback?'
Rick Moran The American Thinker August 15, 2007

The troops will be redeployed to other areas where they would be needed. Certainly Petreaus has his eye on the south, especially around Basra where rival Shia militias are engaged in a low level civil war to establish their dominance in the area. Many of those militias are offshoots of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's JAM force (Jaish Al Mahdi) and are hostile to Americans. Others belong to the Badr Organization who might be expected to cooperate with American forces. Establishing control in the south while breaking the power of some of the Shia militias will help bring peace to Iraq.

Whacking Iran
Ralph Peters, The New York Post, August 16, 2007

The media missed a big one yesterday. They ran with the story that the Bush administration will soon designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps - a major troublemaker in Iraq - as a terrorist organization. But they didn't look past the public-consumption explanation that the move lets our government go after the Revolutionary Guards' finances and the international companies that cut deals with Tehran's thugs. The real reason for the move is to set up a legal basis for airstrikes or special operations raids on the Guard's bases in Iran. 

Al Qaeda's Travel Agent
Damascus International Airport is a hub for terrorists.
By Joseph Lieberman, Opinion Journal, August 20, 2007

Now the Damascus airport is the point of entry into Iraq for most of the suicide bombers who are killing innocent Iraqi citizens and American soldiers, and trying to break America's will in this war. It is therefore time to demand that the Syrian regime stop playing travel agent for al Qaeda in Iraq.

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From Elsewhere

Personal Sovereignty
Part 7 of 'The Crisis of the Republic'
Alan Keyes, Renew America, 2007 

Of all the articles in the "Crisis of the Republic" series, this one is the most important. It deals with the relationship between the sovereignty and democratic self-government of our nation as a whole and the personal sovereignty and self-control of individual citizens

CEOs, Like Athletes, Compensated For Their Successful Performances
By John Berlau, Investor’s Business Daily, August, 2007

Take the contrast in coverage of the hiring of two well-known guys in the business and sports worlds: executive Robert Nardelli at Chrysler and soccer star David Beckham with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Nardelli's hiring this week as Chrysler's chairman and CEO was largely panned, while coverage of the soccer team's acquiring of Beckham has been largely laudatory. Yet if the business pages were to include a career stats box, as the sports pages routinely do, readers would discover that Nardelli and Beckham actually have common traits other than being extremely well-paid. This would also explode the myth spread by politicians and others critical of executive pay that athletes get "paid on performance" and CEOs don't.

NASA Flacks for Global Warming and Skirts Scientific Ethics
By James Lewis, The American Thinker, August, 2007

As pointed out in these pages, NASA has yet to own up fully to its historic error in misinterpreting US surface temperatures to conform to the Global Warming hypothesis, as discovered by Stephen McIntyre at This is not the first major error discovered by McIntyre and his coworker, Canadian economist Ross McKintrick, who previously uncovered the fatally flawed "hockey stick" climate curve, used to justify Global Warming alarmism by the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Understanding the Limits of Health Insurance
By Steven M. Warshawsky, The American Thinker, August 17, 2007

Nevertheless, it is obvious that this story reflects a larger agenda.  The AP is using a human tragedy -- the wife's murder -- to argue, however subtly, in favor of a national health care system.  I have no doubt that this story will find its way into the speeches of those advocating "universal" or "single payer" health insurance.  After all, if such a system were in place, they will claim, this terrible tragedy would not have occurred.  Right?  Honestly, we can never know.

Earmark and Spending Reform Sparks Attention
By Ericka Andersen Human Events, August 15, 2007

More than 3,500 American citizens participated in a national town hall telephone conference call with earmark reform leader Congressman Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) last night. Hosted by American for Prosperity, a group dedicated to educating the public on free markets and limited government, people from states across the country were invited to dial in with their questions regarding pork-barrel spending and responsible economic legislation.

Fighting For America: The 2008 Prospectus

The fight over who will be representing EACH of us - individually, within our City or County or State - is being won by the Liberal Progressive ideology of anger and hate and vitriol and personal attack. They will continue to win so long as their opposition believes sound ideas and good manners are the only tools of American Statesmanship and Democracy.

For any who might be looking for a constructive dialog filled with mutual respect and admiration for the veracity of the other who has engaged you, take note: you will be deeply disappointed. The National Debate over America's future has devolved in to a screaming match, filled with expletives and disrespect, and the winner is fast becoming he who screams loudest and longest...and has a better handle on how to inject the f-bomb whenever a well-thought-out challenge to an ideological premise is injected into the debate.

Related: The Peace Racket
An anti-Western movement touts dictators, advocates appeasement —and gains momentum
By Bruce Bawer, City Journal, Summer 2007

...we’re talking not about a bunch of naive Quakers but about a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations.

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