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True North Archives - September 04, 2007
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Is Education an Entitlement?
Robert Maynard

From this it is logical to conclude that "learning" was more the responsibility of religious bodies than the state and that the state's role was to encourage and protect them "in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities, and estates," as a way of supporting them in carrying out their functions.  Such encouragement is not a moral "ought", but a legal "shall".  How we get from the state mandate to encourage religious societies in the advancement of religion and learning (note that the two were joined together), to the sate usurping that role, is hard to fathom when we read the document in context.  The whole section lumped the discouragement of vice, the encouragement of virtue, schools and religious activity in the same context and suggested that it was religious societies which fulfilled this function and that the state supported that function by granting privileges to such organizations.  (Tax breaks, etc.)

Benefits of Free Trade
By Bruce Shields

The cost of free trade is often very visible: a closed factory, a vacant warehouse, and long term employees forced frequently late in their working career to seek new work.  The benefit is not so easy to see: poor people are better able to afford the necessaries of life.  Saving a dollar a day on clothing is not so easy to run on the evening news as a crane lifting the machines out of a factory.  But in aggregate, that benefit far outweighs the pain.   Some politicians, like some mentally ill people, seem able only to focus on negative interpretations of events.  Society at large needs to hold to a wider view.

Why the E-Court Pulled a 180
Martin Harris

Mr. Dooley doubtless knew little or nothing of actual Supreme Court flip flops, either those of the past (whereby slavery went from Constitutional and legal to not) or those of the future, (whereby the separate-but-equal formula of Plessy v Ferguson would be reversed in Brown v. Board of Education, but his lack of scholarship didn’t prevent him from correctly identifying a political fact: as general public attitudes change, the legal and regulatory systems crawfish energetically to stay in line and pretend to be legally precise about it. It’s not that hard to cite some Vermont examples proving the point.

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"There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton. This is severe interference in our domestic affairs." --Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Malik

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Education, Like Healthcare, Is Not an Entitlement, August 30, 2007

However, declaring the likeness of education and health care does little to address the real question of where these supposed entitlements originate from. Certainly not in the US Constitution which is silent on both issues.  The claim that education is an entitlement is simply not supported by the facts (although the Vt Supreme Court seems to think otherwise). To argue that health care is an entitlement simply because states choose to provide education is non sequitur.

Three readings on climate change, August 31, 2007

I'm sure the climate change issue will return during the next legislative session.  The players are still there and the Governor's Commission on Climate Change will have issued its report.  A few good articles on the subject have recently crossed my desk (electronically speaking, of course).

Subcommittee violates Vermont’s "Open Government and Ethics" laws
August 31, 2007

House Ways & Means Chairman, Michael Obuchowski (D-Rockingham) dismissed questions about the closed-door practices of a subcommittee discussing an income tax increase.... "On critical issues such as property tax reform and raising the income tax, Vermonters' rights under the law to participate and be informed must to be respected. When they are not, it undermines the credibility of our legislature," said Rob Roper.

Related: House Panel under fire for closed door meetings

Blueberry growers turn to machinery
By Clarke Canfield, The Associated Press

A decade ago, about 20 percent of Maine's 60,000 acres of blueberry fields were harvested by mechanical means. Today, it's about 80 percent as growers discover that it's cheaper to replace hand-pickers with more efficient machinery.

An Eye Popper!
Caledonian Record Editorial Tuesday August 28, 2007

What popped our eyes was this inclusion in Grant's article: "The intention of a prebate, which is technically called a 'a property tax adjustment,' is to assist people who have an annual household income of $106,000 or less, according to the department." Could it possibly be true that a household that enjoys an income of $2,038 a week qualifies the homeowner for a prebate or rebate? As eye-popping as that number is, it is apparently so because the tax department confirms it. That is what "income sensitivity" has come to.

A Glimpse Inside the Pork Barrel
Caledonian Record Editorial, August 30, 2007

There is a bill that emerged from the United States Senate this year that contains huge money in earmarks that fund pork barrel projects of virtually all of the senators. The bill is called the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Act. It contains $123.5 million for 285 pork projects. Here is a list, compiled by Citizens Against Public Waste, of the most egregious projects and who got them for whom. Read them and weep.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

A Season of Hope in Iraq
By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, August 31, 2007

During their summer vacation, Americans discovered that Gen. David Petraeus doesn't take one. And his energy and urgency have shifted the Iraq debate in some fundamental ways. A few months ago, it was the received wisdom that Iraq was in the midst of a rapidly escalating civil war. That claim is no longer plausible. While the level of violence is still unacceptably high, the surge has disrupted the cycle of escalation and proved that progress is possible.

Related: Good News, But Not For Democrats

The Myth Of A Resurgent Taliban
From Investor's Business Daily, August 31, 2007

The steady demise of key Taliban leaders belies the drumbeat of a Taliban resurgence. From the Battle of the Bulge to the Tet offensive, our defeated enemies have often gone out in a blaze of glory.

Domestic Genocide in Iran
By Amil Imani,

The world’s most notorious state exponent of anti-Semitism, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is on a path to uproot, not only all that are perceived as civilized, but to annihilate the greatest threat to its existence, the Iranian people. The mullahs and their mercenaries are wasting precious human life in order to maintain themselves in power through terrorizing the population.

CAIR plays defense
By Robert Spencer, Human Events, August 29, 2007

It has been a bad week for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The group that has successfully presented itself as a Muslim civil rights group is seeing a radically different portrayal of its motives and goals come to light in the Holy Land Foundation terror charity trial in Dallas. The Associated Press reported Monday that prosecutors have produced documents establishing that CAIR was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. Mousa Abu Marzook, who once served as chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, led this group. CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad has been placed at a meeting of Hamas supporters -- which shouldn’t surprise anyone, since in 1994, the year CAIR was founded, Awad stated publicly, "I am in support of the Hamas movement."

Iran's Big Plans
By Jeff Emanuel, The American Thinker, August 31, 2007

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday said that "a huge power vacuum" was imminent in Iraq and promised that Iran would be ready to fill it. This plainly-stated desire by the totalitarian regime in Tehran to overtly interfere in the affairs of a sovereign nation -- while simultaneously accusing the US of doing so, despite the fact that coalition forces are still present in Iraq at official invitation of that nation's sovereign government -- should come as no surprise to any who have followed the course of the Iraq war (and postwar) to this point.

Baghdad Treat
Life Returns to Mean Streets
By Ralph Peters, The New York Post, August 29, 2007

IT may be the world's ugliest ice cream, a random mix of a half-dozen melting flavors swirled together in a chaos of chemical colors. But it's a hit at the Yarmouk market in the heart of Baghdad. Much of the city - though certainly not all - is coming back to life. The optimism of the neighborhood entrepreneur who opened that ice-cream shop may be a better indicator of progress than another empty promise from Iraq's government.

And it's a good sign when a U.S. security patrol can make an ice-cream stop.

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From Elsewhere

Electoral politics?
Part 2 of 'The Crisis of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, Renew America, 2007

Because our understanding of politics has been corrupted, we cannot discuss what threatens our political sovereignty until we free ourselves from the effects of that corruption. It's as if we are looking at our political life through lenses or panes of glass that obscure and distort everything we see, including the nature of our own actions.

Thriving in a Global Economy (pdf)
The Truth about U.S. Manufacturing and Trade
By Daniel Ikenson, Cato Institute

Reports of the death of U.S. manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated. Since the depth of the manufacturing recession in 2002, the sector as a whole has experienced robust and sustained output, revenue, and profit growth. The year 2006 was a record year for output, revenues, profits, profit rates, and return on investment in the manufacturing sector. And despite all the stories about the erosion of U.S. manufacturing primacy, the United States remains the world’s most prolific manufacturer—producing two and a half times more output than those vaunted Chinese factories in 2006.

Yet, the rhetoric on Capitol Hill and on the presidential campaign trail about a declining manufacturing sector is reaching a fevered pitch. Policymakers point repeatedly to the loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs as evidence of impending doom, even though those acute losses occurred between 2000 and 2003, and job decline in manufacturing has leveled off to historic averages.

Nonsense Energy Policies
by Paul Driessen, American Conservative Union Foundation

Legislators should be working to ensure that markets work properly, so that we have abundant, reliable, affordable energy – to meet the needs of a growing population and technologies that safeguard and improve our lives. Our economy’s digital infrastructure alone accounts for more than 10% of our electricity demand. Data centers are voracious energy consumers. Unfortunately, legislative bills could more accurately be called anti-energy and even anti-environment. They may reflect gratitude for special interests that get legislators elected, but they hardly serve the interests of consumers or the nation.

The Left Fakes Right
By James Lewis, The American Thinker, August 29, 2007

After six long years of pandering to the primates of Kos and Huffpo, the Democrats have suddenly discovered the War on Terror.  Didn't you notice? That's because they didn't tell anybody. It's a stealthy flip, right in the middle of the dog days of August when nobody is paying attention. The Party Line just flipped.

Flood Insurance Stymied by Federal Government
New Report Explains How Government Retarded Development of Private Flood Insurance
By CEI Staff, August 23, 2007

Floods destroy thousands of homes each year and, America’s primary way of paying for them, The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), has enormous problems. The program adds billions to the national debt each year and, quite often, pays to rebuild flood-prone houses and businesses time and again.

Eagles Return
Troops on the homefront
By Michelle Malkin, National Review Online, August 29, 2007

Earlier this year, I reported on a new, nonpartisan movement that arose to challenge the surrender lobby. On a bitter cold weekend in March, the Gathering of Eagles brought together veterans, families of active-duty servicemen and servicewomen, Rolling Thunder members, military bloggers and their grassroots supporters to raise their pro-troops, pro-mission voices. I interviewed Eagles who flew in from San Francisco, rode motorcycles south from Georgia, drove all night from Boston, and trekked in caravans from coast to coast to answer ANSWER. At the crack of dawn, facing biting winds and contemptuous taunts, tens of thousands of Eagles stood guard over war memorials threatened by antiwar anarchists and lined the streets where bongo drum-beating retreatists marched.

The Gathering of Eagles turnout was unprecedented. The Cindy Sheehanistas and socialist rabble-rousers had never been met and matched with such force. Now, the Eagles are organizing a return to Washington at a historic moment in the global war against jihad. Gen. David Petraeus, top commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are expected to testify before the Senate on Sept. 11.

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