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True North Archives - August 28, 2007
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Featured Articles

Blame America First
By Bruce Shields

To a large degree, this Euro-Left analysis has come to dominate our contemporary political discourse: America’s Left is dominated by anti-American thought.  This fact is agreed to by political analysts of considerable diversity.  Rush Limbaugh decries the America Last movement; Joe Lieberman campaigned against the Blame America First activists.  A thoughtful survey of threads on the website of Moveon.Org shows that the Left is not uncomfortable with that view.  The organizing thought of the contemporary Left is that American power and influence is responsible for almost every ill in the world, from poverty and ignorance in the third world, endemic diseases in tropical areas, genocides and slaughters of civilians in many areas, piracy on the high seas, human rights violations in Russia, political repression in China, over-fishing along continental shelves, global warming, dieback of coral reefs, and for all I know, the extinction of the Dodo.

Paying for Good Roads and Bridges
John McClaughry

The Reason Foundation’s 2007 Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems, using a broader definition of "deficient", rates the condition of Vermont bridges 44th among the states. The same report finds that Vermont ranks 46th in the condition of its rural primary road pavement, and 37th in the overall "cost effectiveness" of its highway program. This latter ranking reflects a drop of 13 places since 1998, the largest drop of any state.

Consensus on Act 185
Mark Shepard

Finally we seem to have a consensus on Act 185, that it does indeed disclose personal income information of Vermont residents.  Now the focus is on how to fix the mess.  However the latest opinions express only frustration that there is no fix until January, when the legislature reconvenes and that is a bit late to prevent this year's income information from becoming publicly accessible.

Friendly Fire
By Pete Behr

At the end of the day, our troops are serving on our behalf. They take risks and undergo danger on a daily basis. If they get killed by enemy fire, or accidentally, they are still serving all of us. That is why I find it disgusting to hear politicians exploiting incidents like the death of Pat Tillman. They could care less about his loss, but they sure enjoy the television coverage, as they probe the "cover-up." The Army exercised poor judgment by failing to disclose quickly that he was a victim of "friendly fire." But is he any less a hero for having fallen that way? Of course not. He died in the line of duty. That’s it. 

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"The fall of the Soviet Union deprived us of the biggest example of how socialism works. We need laboratories of failure to demonstrate what socialism is like. All we have now is Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, the U.S. Post Office, and state motor-vehicle departments."--John Stossel

"The responsibility of the judiciary is to uphold the Constitution, not rewrite it." --Barry Goldwater

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of the civil government with the principles of Christianity.  From the day of the Declaration the American people were bound by the laws of God." --John Quincy Adams

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Hate Crime Laws vs. Equal Respect

The "Hate Crime" bill is an attempt to add another layer to the laws we already have to prosecute assaults.  We do already send a strong message to society that we will not tolerate assaults on individuals no matter what.  It is a fantasy, and an intolerant fantasy at that, to think that somehow because of a persons race, religion, sex, or lifestyle that an assault, on those particular individuals, merits a tougher sentence or response.  Our society is trying to to treat all people/everyone with respect! Hate crime laws are not the way to go. I do not believe  in a "damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't" kind of world.  I believe in clear moral choices as in "blessed-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't".

Matt Galloway

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Catamount Health broke already?, August 24, 2007

Catmount Health hasn't even opened its doors for business and is already looking for some $18.5 million to subsidize health insurance for people earning between $41,000 and  $50,000 a year.  Federal funds will subsidize those with incomes below $41,000.  Those above $50,000 are on their own. 

Whose Money Is It, Anyway, August 25, 2007

We have all become accustomed -- and numbed -- to a system where Washington hands out money for everything from schools to snowmobile trails, but it is foolish to expect there will be no strings attached.  In fact, we increasingly get the strings without the dough.  This, anyway, is the argument made by critics of No Child Left Behind and they make a fair case.  But then, a long time ago, lonely prophets like Milton Friedman argued that Federal funding of education meant Federal control.  He was not uttering a partisan talking point.  Rather, he was observing a fact of nature.  One that applies to health care as well as education ... and everything else.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: Quite Simply, He Is An Embarrassment
Caledonian Record Editorial, August 24, 2007

It is sad to see Sen. Bernie Sanders prostituting his election to the most prestigious body in the world by flacking for the rabble. He plainly doesn't understand that there is a dignity that goes with the office of senator that precludes hawking snake oil. When Bernie was a simple congressman, one of several hundred, making speeches to an empty House at 2 in the morning in order to get himself into the Congressional Record, it was easy to dismiss him, as virtually everybody in Washington and Vermont did. But as Senator Bernie Sanders, joining his raucous voice to a radical propagandist's and attacking a national news network that millions and millions of Americans pay attention to every day, cheapens his high office and is undignified and unworthy.

Related: This bothers me

No New Gas Tax!
Caledonian Record Editorial, August 23, 2007

The knee-jerk reaction of our nanny-government tax-and-spenders is to enact a new gasoline tax to pay for the crash schedule. Speaker of the House Gaye Symington and Senate Majority Leader John Campbell intend to pass a new gas tax in the next legislative session, despite the broad opposition of Vermonters to such a new tax.

Opponents call for boycott of marriage panel
By Nancy Remsen, Burlington Free Press, August 24, 2007

"This is a political farce that wastes Vermonters' time," said Craig Bensen, long-time leader in Take It to the People, a group that fought in 2000 to have the gay marriage and civil union questions put before voters. "By coming to the meetings, they will be giving credibility to the message we already know is going to be delivered," said another critic, Stephen Cable, president of the Center for American Cultural Renewal in Rutland.

A Realization Of The American Dream
Caledonian Record Editorial, August 22, 2007

We recently reported the sale of a very successful local company, NSA Industries by Neal Austin, its founder, to Middlebury-based Worth Mountain Capital Partners. While this is of great importance to the people who work there and to the economy of the area, the bigger story is where the company came from and how Mr. Austin took it from an idea to a major local industry that is still growing. If there ever was an example of the American dream realized, Mr. Austin and his NSA Industries is it. 

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

The Worms Turn (updated)
By Clarice Feldman, The American Thinker, August 22, 2007

The Baathists who until recently had joined forces with Al Qaeda have now switched and offered to join the Coalition forces in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda:

NYT Exaggerates New NIE Report - To Get Maliki
Report Cites Grave Concerns on Iraq’s Government
By Jim Rutenberg, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mark Mazzetti, Sweetness and Light, August 23, 2007

This assessment doesn’t sound quite as dire as the New York Times makes it out to be, at least to me. But the important thing for The Times was to put its spin of defeatism on the report before anyone could see it and know better. Of course they were only doing their DNC masters’ bidding. For the Democrat mission of the moment is to "get Maliki." The New York Times just tried to do its part, like the good little minions they are.

Iran is at War With Iraq -- as Well as With America
by Jeff Emanuel, Human Events,August 22, 2007

The killing of Iraqis by Iran's Revolutionary Guard should not be a surprise to any who have followed the course of the Iraq war (and postwar). While Tehran is raising the outcry that the Kurdish freedom fighters (known as the PJAK) are "a terrorist outfit being sponsored and armed by the US to increase pressure on Iran" -- the IRGC is itself conducting a terrorist campaign within Iraq itself.

U.S. General Wary of Withdrawal Plan
By Anne Flaherty, Associated Press, August 24, 2007

The U.S. military commander in one of the more troubled areas of Iraq said Friday that embracing Sen. John Warner‘s call to begin troop withdrawals before the end of the year would be "a giant step backward."

Mullahs and Opiates
By Amil Imani, The American Thinker, August 22, 2007

This bunch of miscreants has the full support of Syria, Venezuela, and Russia. They have enthusiastic support from many terrorist organizations in the region and drug-running organizations worldwide. They have tacit support from China, Cuba, and France because the power structures of these countries resent the USA, and Iran is the leader in the expression of threats against the US "superpower." The Mullahs receive relatively little criticism from semi-socialist democracies like Western Europe and Canada who seem obsessed with anti-Bush, anti-US diatribes. Certainly the UN could care less about their bomb-building, and would be holding "talks" after the first detonation because "everybody knows war never solved anything." The Mullahs have nothing but support and few distractions. They're not going anywhere without a very big push.

Iraq's Re-Liberation
By Ralph Peters, The New York Post, August 22, 2007

Petraeus acknowledges the errors made in the early occupation years, stressing, above all, the failure to provide security for the population. We cleaned out the violent actors from one city after another, but failed to stay and set the conditions for political and economic progress. When we left, the bad guys came back - and killed anybody who had cooperated with us. Now, through the efficient use of American troops and a greatly increased employment of Iraqi forces, we're taking an approach that allows for fighting fiercely when necessary, but which looks beyond the gunfights. 

Video: Marine Corps Poetry Slam
Even if you’re not a fan of the poetry slam, here’s one you’re gonna love. 

Another Vietnam?
President Bush's analogy to Iraq is not inaccurate, just incomplete.
By Max Boot, The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2007

Gen. Petraeus is belatedly pursuing classic counterinsurgency strategies that are paying off. The danger is that American politicians will prematurely pull the plug in Iraq as they did in Vietnam. If they do so, the consequences will be even worse, since Iraq is much more important strategically than Vietnam ever was.

Mr. Boot is author of "War Made New: Weapons, Warriors and the Making of the Modern World"

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From Elsewhere

The Crisis of the Republic
An introduction
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew America

For a long time, I have believed that the 2008 election would be a turning point for the survival of the American republic--our nation's system of constitutional government based on the sovereignty of the American people and respect for their inalienable rights.

During the past several decades, the trend in American life and politics has been adverse to just about everything needed to sustain American liberty. In our intellectual life, we have embraced theories and concepts that are simply incompatible with the ideas of human equality and inalienable rights that shaped our institutions of self-government. In the moral realm, we have legitimized attitudes and practices incompatible with the self-reliance and self-discipline that make limited government practicable. We have lived with policies on taxation and our economic life that destroy the rights, self-sufficiency, and initiative of the people. We have thoughtlessly adopted--and allowed our elites to implement--an understanding of political life that destructively erodes the sovereignty of the people.

Going, Going, Gone?
From Investor’s Business Daily, August 23, 2007

Budget: It's no longer any surprise that the budget deficit is plunging, just as President Bush predicted. What's surprising is those who most criticized Bush for the recession-driven deficits are about to send them soaring again.

Jobs, Trade, and the Democrats
By William F. Buckley Jr., National Review Online, August 23, 2007

It is illuminating to learn that wage-earners in manufacturing in the United States take in less, sometimes far less, than wage-earners in other spheres. Those who work in utilities take in on average $27 per hour; in education, $17; in manufacturing, $16.

U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost through automation, but this is so in every major industrial economy. The question to ask is: Have those who have lost employment on that account found jobs elsewhere? The answer is that yes, it is so in the United States, where a large number of those who have lost their jobs in manufacturing have moved to higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs in service industries. "As we discovered with the 'vanishing middle class,'" Reynolds points out, "a rising percentage of American families left the middle class manufacturing jobs by moving up."

Diversity, Nihilism, and the Anti-Rational Mind
By Gary Wolf, The American Thinker, August 22, 2007

It is ironic that Diversity, which could develop only in an environment imbued with reason, is contributing to its death. The ideologues believe they can redesign society, starting with its smallest detail. One failure after another, even the totalitarian upheavals of the twentieth century, have done nothing to dampen their zeal.

The pattern is all too familiar: A boisterous campaign to control social behavior -- "Diversity in the Workplace," for example -- as the fixers of social injustice squeeze the population into conformity with their perfectly designed rational panacea. But rationality itself cannot flourish and grow without a free and open interchange of ideas. By imposing what seems to be a rational solution, they create the conditions under which reason and intellect wither away.

Coming Spending Fights Could be 80s Replay
By Mike Franc, Human Events, August 24, 2007

The good news for Bush is that his get-tough stance on spending enjoys enough support among conservative lawmakers (at least in the House; the Senate has yet to consider most of these bills) to force Democrats to the bargaining table. Veto-sustaining margins of House Republicans have already opposed six of the nine domestic spending bills. On two of the remaining bills, the gap is so small (five or fewer votes) that a little presidential arm-twisting should be enough to reach the required 145. 

Our Epidemic Of Ignorance Fueled In Part By Therapeutic Curriculum
By Victor Davis Hanson, Investor’s Business Daily, August 23, 2007 

What then can our elementary and secondary schools do, when many of their students' problems begin at home or arise from our warped popular culture?

We should first scrap the popular therapeutic curriculum that in the scarce hours of the school day crams in sermons on race, class, gender, drugs, sex, self-esteem and environmentalism. These are well-intentioned efforts to make a kinder and gentler generation more sensitive to our nation's supposed sins. But they only squeeze out far more important subjects.

The old approach to education saw things differently than we do. Education ("to lead out" or "to bring up") was not defined as being "sensitive" to or "correct" on particular issues. It was instead the rational ability to make sense of the chaotic present through the abstract wisdom of the past.

So literature, history, math and science gave students plenty of facts, theorems, people and dates to draw on. Then training in logic, language and philosophy provided the tools to use and express that accumulated wisdom. Teachers usually did not care where all that training led their students politically — only that their pupils' ideas and views were supported with facts and argued rationally.

Why Study War?
Military history teaches us about honor, sacrifice, and the inevitability of conflict.
By Victor Davis Hanson, City Journal, Summer 2007

It’s no surprise that civilian Americans tend to lack a basic understanding of military matters. Even when I was a graduate student, 30-some years ago, military history...had already become unfashionable on campus. Today, universities are even less receptive to the subject....

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