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True North Archives - August 25, 2009
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Featured Articles

The Real Message of ObamaCare
John McClaughry

The national debate over health care reform has taken some unexpected turns. As more and more people have begun to grasp the import of the sweeping bills put forth by Congressional Democrats, outspoken resistance has become an epidemic. Images of uproarious town hall meetings have filled the TV screens. Many Democratic members of Congress seem to have gone into hiding. Surprised and alarmed, the Left has launched an intense counterattack.

Grasping at Teats
Dairy’s farming future in Vermont.
By James Ehlers

For those resolute dairy farmers who have previously persisted in the face of crisis, they will be the ones to lead us into the 21st century of farming, perhaps without cows front and center. After all, it was one man who led Vermont to wool, not a whole industry unsustainably propped up by government subsidies and environmental regulatory exemptions. While romanticizing the past may sell magazines, it is demonstrably not selling milk. This is neither good for farmers nor Vermont.

The world at one time wanted charcoal, potash, lumber, and logs. This demand propelled Burlington to number three on the list of the country’s largest lumber ports, and helped make Vermont what it is today. What bright future might be in store for Vermont if we listened to what the world wanted again instead of insisting on what we want?

Urbanism and its End II
By Martin Harris

For more than a century now, American city-dwellers who could afford to flee to suburbs and exurbs have done so. Long before the rise of the inter-urban trolley systems in the late 19th century, the upper-income quintiles had enjoyed "summah places", but light rail lines, such as those from Rutland to the Castleton lakes, were the first to open the options to the middle classes as well. Commuter superhighways like the Long Island Motor Parkway were in place seven years before WWI, and inter-urban trackage, zero in 1880, peaked at 16,000 just after WWI, as private automobiles took over the task of residential removal, and the trolleys began to lose ridership soon after. At first, the urban exodus enjoyed academic approval: Ebenezer Howard wrote "Garden Cities" in 1898. Such innovative suburbs as Radburn NJ and Forest Hill Gardens NY were fashionable destinations going into the Great Depression, and as late as the post-WWII decades Levittowns in the US and green-belt "estates" in the UK were applauded by most urban planners, then a brand-new discipline. Not any more; now, writers like Yale’s Douglas Rae (describing New Haven’s 19th century rise and 20th century decline) deplore "the end of urbanism" and today’s planners make much of Yonkers NY converting (with subsidy money, of course) former Hudson-River-frontage industrial acreage to young-urban-professional high-rise co-operative and rental apartments.

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"Victory has a hundred fathers" --Jack Kennedy

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The Douglas Decision
From Vermont Tiger, August 27, 2009

In 2009, the recession was also precipitated by a real estate bust that followed a real estate boom (although this time the cycle was national, not regional).  The recession was even deeper than in 1990, and it looks like it will last at least as long.  Unemployment is again over 7% and the state budget deficit for the next three fiscal years will be about 10% of  general fund revenues.  If the federal stimulus funds (there weren't any in 1990) hadn't bailed out the state, the deficit for the current fiscal year and the next two years would have been over 15% instead of "merely" 10%.   Governor Douglas, having served four terms, has elected not to run again in 2010.

Stimulating What?
From The Caledonia Record, August 27, 2009

Last winter, the Congress passed a multi-hundreds of billion dollar stimulus bill. It was supposed to stimulate the nation's economy by creating millions of "shovel-ready" jobs. So far, few jobs have been created, but multi-billions of dollars have been spent, or will be spent, on projects that in more honest times would be called "pork barrel projects."

Douglas Announcement Changes Political Landscape
From The Burlington Free Press, August 27, 2009

Republican Gov. Jim Douglas' decision to step down after this term dramatically changes the contours of the Vermont electoral landscape in 2010. Douglas' announcement presents what will be perceived as a major opportunity for the Democrats and just as big a challenge for the Republicans.

Vermont's Growth Industry
From Vermont Tiger, August 26, 2009

The July Department of Labor numbers contain some interesting data points. While the numbers themselves in terms of net job losses is grindingly painful, some sectors in the state economy have actually grown year-over-year. Three guesses as to which sector grew 500 jobs from June 2008 to June 2009. If you guessed "the Government sector", you would be correct (see p.7).

A Sentence Much Too Harsh
From The Caledonia Record, August 22, 2009

In a state where too often we see criminals sent on their way with hardly a slap to the wrist, we've finally found a sentence in Vermont we perceive too harsh.

If you haven't licensed your dog in St. Johnsbury and you let it roam free, look out. You may be going to your dog's funeral courtesy of new powers entrusted to animal control officer Jo Guertin. In response to her frustration over dog owners who won't license their dogs and/or are rude and offensive when she tells them they must do it, St. Johnsbury's selectmen authorized her and town constable Gil Roberts to destroy unlicensed dogs.

Vermont Tech ranked among Top 10 Public Colleges in the North by US News
From, August 22, 2009

Vermont Technical College this week was named among the top 10 best public baccalaureate colleges in the North by U.S.News & World Report. In its 2010 "Best Colleges" issue, Vermont Tech placed seventh among the best public baccalaureate colleges in the North and 22nd among all northern colleges, up two notches from its number 24 ranking in 2009, and eight notches from its number 30 ranking in 2008.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Gaza: Big Jihad vs. Little Jihad
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, August 20 2009

Hamas’ attack against a Jihadist group inside Gaza is about to provide the Palestinian Islamist organization a pass to become a "mainstream" movement, acceptable internationally as a partner in negotiations. Or at least, that is what Hamas strategists think may happen as a result of crushing the minuscule militant entity known as Jund Ansar Allah (The Soldiers or the Partisans of Allah) last week. This is another murky development in the world of Jihadism, where the biggest brothers in holy war devoured the little ones, in a race between who can achieve final victory against the Kuffar (infidels). But in Gaza, these intra-Jihadist slaughter fests are peculiar in as much as the "Palestine cause" is so central to the Islamist political narrative worldwide.

Afghans in greatest danger since Taliban fell: Amnesty
From Google, August 27, 2009

Amnesty International said Thursday civilians were at a greater danger in Afghanistan than at any time since the Taliban extremists were ousted from power in 2001.

The London-based human rights group cited Tuesday's bombing in Kandahar which killed 43 people and Thursday's clinic siege in the Sar Hawza district of Paktika province, which borders Pakistan and is a hotbed of Taliban violence.

What the President's Attack on the CIA Really Means
By Herbert E. Meyer, American Thinker, August 26 2009

If President Obama and his supporters are right -- that what confronts us isn't a war but merely a complex international law-enforcement problem -- in the coming years not much will happen.  We'll see the occasional bombing here or there, every so often an airliner will inexplicably fall out of the sky, and in a half-dozen or so countries most of us cannot even find on a map some previously unheard-of groups of thugs will seize power.  But with the exception of those few of us unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, life will go on.

But if President Bush and those of us who supported him are right -- that we are in the midst of a global war on whose outcome rests the survival of Western civilization -- the future will unfold in a different and much less pleasant way.  The forces of radical Islam will surge, our "allies" will cave in to pressure and cut deals with our mortal enemies, and at some point down the road -- seven years from now, three years from now, or perhaps next Tuesday -- something ghastly will happen.

When Will Westerners Stop Westernizing Islamic Concepts?
By Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, August 25 2009

Aside from the fact that—alas, and once again—what any of us "think" is totally irrelevant, these questions demonstrate the all too common inability to transcend one's own culturally-ingrained notions of right and wrong, ascribing to them a universal pedigree. For just as Ms. Grossman's Western sensibilities inform her that zakat, which has to do with giving money, must always be "charitable," so too do they inform her that funding violence, jihadi or otherwise, must always be "nefarious."

Yet she may be surprised to discover that men such as Osama bin Laden actually see their jihad—yes, with all the death and destruction entailed—as an act of altruism, as an ugly means to a beneficent end (see Koran 2:216), that is, the establishment of Islamic law across the world (which is, incidentally, another Muslim duty). One of the most renowned Muslim clerics and hero of modern day jihadists, Ibn Taymiyya, has written at great length describing jihad as the ultimate expression of "love." And, at any rate, it seems a safe bet that most Muslims will be inclined to adhere to his opinions, i.e., his fatwas, as opposed to Ms. Grossman's casual thoughts on the matter.

Counterterrorism in Obama's Washington
By Daniel Pipes,, August 18, 2009

Most fundamentally, Brennan calls for appeasing terrorists: "Even as we condemn and oppose the illegitimate tactics used by terrorists, we need to acknowledge and address the legitimate needs and grievances of ordinary people those terrorists claim to represent." Which legitimate needs and grievances, one wonders, does he think Al-Qaeda represents?

Brennan carefully delineates a two-fold threat, one being "Al-Qaida and its allies" and the other "violent extremism." But the former, self-evidently, is a subset of the latter. This elementary mistake undermines his entire analysis.

Tariq Ramadan Repudiated
By Stephen Schwartz, The American Thinker, August 28, 2009

In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.

Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom he collaborates in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research [ECFR], a Brotherhood-oriented body. Al-Qaradawi is the leading theorist of a "European Islam" that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da'wa or Islamic proselytizing. Ramadan has endorsed this strategy. The ECFR scheme, and Tariq Ramadan's involvement in it, are documented in the recent Center for Islamic Pluralism report, A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-2009.

Lieberman Slams Holder's Investigation of CIA Officials
ByJohn McCormack,Weekly Standard Blog, August 24, 2009

“We cannot take for granted the fact that our homeland has not been attacked since September 11, 2001. That has occurred only because of the constant vigilance and unflinching efforts by those brave individuals in our military, civilian homeland security and counterterrorism agencies, and the intelligence community. These public servants must of course live within the law but they must also be free to do their dangerous and critical jobs without worrying that years from now a future Attorney General will authorize a criminal investigation of them for behavior that a previous Attorney General concluded was authorized and legal.”  Full statement here

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From Elsewhere

Imagine You Are a Doctor
By Hunter Baker The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty August 19 2009

Imagine that you are a physician. You have made it through four years of college on a steady diet of biology, chemistry, and calculus, four years of medical school so demanding that you have no life outside of school, and at least three years of residency in which you have regularly worked 100 hours a week for a very low salary. You have been the first to get up and the last to go home. And somewhere in there your third decade of life, commonly known as your "twenties" (normally a fun time), has disappeared. Along the way, you have probably racked up an astronomical personal debt because there is no time to work a second job to help pay it off. The first professional hurdle you set out to clear will be six figures accumulating interest. Forget family. If you have a spouse at this point, he or she is probably full of resentment at never seeing you. ...

Now imagine how you would feel if the rest of us got together and proposed that the government should become the primary client for medical services. As part of the deal, the government will determine how much you will be paid. Lawyers, business executives, electricians, and plumbers (to name but a few) will all be allowed to command what the market will pay for their services—but not you. Simply because it is possible that a majority may be found who think this scheme is a good idea, you may lose all the benefits of offering your services in a free economy.

Worse and Worser
By Randall Hoven, American Thinker, August 27 2009

The Congressional Budget Office came out with an update to its predictions of the federal budget this week.  For some reason, the CBO did not title its report "Hell In A Hand Basket."

Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling
Too bad it's not in U.S. waters.
From The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2009

You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil.

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

Up North
Canada has many things to commend it; health care isn’t one of them.
By Mona Charen, National Review, August 18, 2009

Canada is a good neighbor and perhaps deserves more appreciation from us. But for as long as some Americans — including the most noisome portion of the Democratic party — insist upon citing Canada’s single-payer health-care system as a model for the United States, even those of us who would prefer to be lauding the magnificence of the northern dominion must demur.

The Saudi Arabia Of Shale
From Investor's Business Daily, August 17, 2009

Energy Policy: New York's governor wants to tap into a shale formation that can supply the entire U.S. with natural gas for 65 years. Will NIMBY environmentalists let him stimulate New York's and America's energy economy?

The Panel
What death by bureaucratic fiat might look like.
By Andrew Klavan, The Wall Street Journal, August 17 2009

It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. ?—President Barack Obama in a New York Times interview on how costly medical decisions should be made.?

The people behind the long table do not know what they've become. The drug of power has been sugared over in their mouths with a flavoring of righteousness. Someone has to make these decisions, they tell their friends at dinner parties. It's all very difficult for us. But you can see it in their eyes: It isn't really difficult at all. It feels good to them to be the ones who decide.

Obamacare Ad Wars
While supporters of the health-care bill focus on politics, opponents focus on policy.
By Libby Sternberg, The Weekly Standard, August 20, 2009

This is what supporters of health care reform don't seem to get--that Americans are concerned about the policy itself. Supporters of reform seem more concerned about the politics, casting aspersions on town hall participants, saying they're "Astroturf" and not grassroots, or "un-American" for speaking out loudly.

Shhh! Gallup Reports That Conservatives Outnumber Libs in All 50 States; Media Plays Dumb. Media ignores stunning news--again.
By Tom Blumer, The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2009

You know this is important polling news, because the establishment media is pretending it doesn't exist.

The news isn't just that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals nationwide. That's old hat. The big news from Gallup is that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state in the union, including supposedly uberliberal Vermont and Massachusetts.

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