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True North Archives - September 22, 2009
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Featured Articles

Improving - and Bypassing - the Court System
By John McClaughry

At this point well-managed state governments turn to recommendations from a Performance Review. It's a process that asks of every state function: Privatize, Eliminate, Retain, or Modify?

The Democratic Party's 2004 platform called for just such a process. In 2005 Gov. Douglas made what proved to be a feeble run at the same goal. Since then, the concept has lain fallow. Now is the time that the state very badly needs to act upon PERM recommendations - that of course it doesn't have.

But there's one bright spot here. The Judiciary Branch has set out on the performance review path. Pursuant to a 2008 statute, Chief Justice Paul Reiber created a Commission on Judicial Operation to examine the efficient and effective delivery of judicial services and the allocation of judicial branch resources.

No Room for Moderates in Today's Vermont Democratic Party
By Rob Roper

On September 8, Vermont's Democratic Auditor, Tom Salmon, and son of a former Democratic governor left his life-long political party to join the Vermont Republican Party. Explaining why, Salmon said, "I'm changing my political affiliation to align myself with a party more committed to the realities of our fiscal condition, and who I think have the abilities to manage the very real and troubling economic and social conditions which confront us not only today but over the next decade.... In many ways I'm not leaving the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me and tens of thousands of other people in a reunion with the Progressive Party and their values...."

Au Revoir, Au Buchon
By Martin Harris

News that a venerable New England hardware store chain will close its downtown Rutland location brings to mind once again the just-about-insoluble commercial core problem of mid-size cities: most Americans wonít spend where they canít (easily) park. In large cities the apartment-dwelling natives are used to shopping without POVís (privately-owned vehicles) and in small towns beyond New England thereís usually enough parking around the courthouse square near enough to the facing rows of stores to work reasonably well, but in mid-sized places like Rutland itís impossible to comply with the mandatory math of contemporary urban planning: a square foot of parking for a square foot of retail, without challenging some aspect of the typical 19th century grid-square streets-and-buildings layout.

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"Tyranny derives from the oligarchy's mistrust of the people; hence they deprive them of arms, ill-treat the lower class, and keep them from residing in the capital. These are common to oligarchy and tyranny."
--Aristotle in Politics (J. Sinclair translation, pg. 218, 1962)
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

ACORN and Our Senators
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 16, 2009

ACORN's right to federal funding rightfully went before the Senate Monday where they voted 83 to 7 to stop the flow of money. Two of the seven senators voting against the measure were Vermont's senators, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy. Sanders, in the name of Socialist radical politics, voted once more against the huge majority's sense of decency. Sanders, who gets into the Congressional Record by making speeches in the middle of the night to a Senate chamber empty except for him and his cameraman, and to whom nobody in Washington listens, is just being Sanders, a demonically ideological social activist.

We can't even begin to understand Leahy's vote. Though often cynical, Leahy is smart enough to know just how repulsive ACORN is to the American people. Vermonters should be perplexed by his vote in support of scoundrels and against the interests of people who want to trust their government. We can't figure out what he or his political interests have to gain by his vote. We can only speculate on how shallow his probity must be to do it.

Underfunded & Overpromised
From Vermont Tiger, September 15 2009

Vermont is staring down the barrel of the sort of pension crisis that has hit elsewhere and even driven some California municipalities into bankruptcy.  We published David Coates' warning on the coming pension tsunami earlier this year and, since then, Treasurer Jeb Spaulding has taken up the cause of reforming and funding Vermont's obligations to retiring state workers and school teachers.

The new head of the Vermont NEA (that would be the teacher's union) isn't having any of it.

Keep This Country in Shape, Exercise Those Constitutional Rights
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 17, 2009

Our week of articles, interviews and educational information on the U.S. Constitution has demonstrated Americans are grateful for their nation, their form of government and the genius of the framers of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

American citizens are all held to be equal in the eyes of God and under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Perhaps nowhere else on earth is there such a promise of equality without regard to birth, gender, religion or race. We are promised equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome.

If You Are Reading This...
From Vermont Tiger, September 13, 2009

You must know that blogs are a threat to all that is pure and good in journalism.

Or something like that.

The big engines of established journalism have left their readers in the dark, recently, on the controversy leading up to the resignation of a senior White House adviser who publicly backed the charge that the former President of the U.S. was complicit in the murder of the 3,000 American citizens.  To the extent that the major media covered the story at all, it made it sound as though the staffer was guilty of not much worse than talking like the average 13 year old.

Vermont Auditor says State Needs to Tighten Economic Development, Buildings, Motor Vehicles Departments
From, September 18, 2009

Vermont State Auditor Tom Salmon issued a report today that says the state can do more to set goals for programs and to track actual results. In audits of the Department of Buildings & General Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Economic Development, results indicate that agencies have established goals, but fall short in setting up relevant performance indicators, targets and methods to track actual results.

Vermont GOP Chair Won't Seek Re-election
By John Curran, Associated Press Writer, September 16, 2009

Rob Roper, 41, of Stowe, who took the job in January 2007 to fill an unexpired term and was re-elected later that year, said Tuesday he won't be a candidate when the Republican State Committee meets to vote on a chairman Nov. 14. Roper says he will remain active in politics, either as a candidate himself or helping other Republican candidates.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Targeted Deaths Curb al-Qaida's Expansion
By Paisley Dodds, Associated Press September 18, 2009

Recent targeted attacks that killed militants in Somalia, Indonesia and Pakistan have chipped away at al-Qaida's power base, sapping the terror network of key leaders and experienced operatives who train recruits and wage attacks.

Abject Surrender In Dead Of Night
From Investor's Business Daily, September 17, 2009

Strategic Defense: With Iran on the verge of a deliverable nuke, the administration tells our allies in the dead of night that we will scuttle missile defense plans in Eastern Europe to please the Russians.

Related:  A Stab in the Back

Military growing impatient with Obama on Afghanistan
BY Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers, September 18, 2009

Six months after it announced its strategy for Afghanistan, the Obama administration is sending mixed signals about its objectives there and how many troops are needed to achieve them. The conflicting messages are drawing increasing ire from U.S. commanders in Afghanistan and frustrating military leaders, who are trying to figure out how to demonstrate that they're making progress in the 12-18 months that the administration has given them.

Thousands March in Iran Anti-Government Protests
By Barbara Slavin, Washington Times, September 18, 2009

Tens of thousands of people marched in Tehran and other major Iranian cities Friday as demonstrators turned an annual anti-Israel event into a new protest against the Islamic government. Witnesses and videos posted on the Internet and broadcast by foreign television showed clashes between security forces and protesters chanting "No Gaza, no Lebanon: my life only for Iran" and "death to the dictator."

Al Qaida Moves the Battle to Iraq
By James Lewis, American Thinker, September 16, 2009

Suppose you were Osama Bin Laden or his successor, and you're pitted against Barack Bin Obama, President by the Grace of God, Fearless Conqueror of Hillary, Pitiless Crusader against Greedy and Evil Doctors, Breaker of the Budget. Obama is trying to leave Iraq: He promised it to his good buds on the Left, and they are the only ones who have any clout in this White House. In Afghanistan Obama is nominally committed to the "good war." But never to win; that would be so retro. Winning counts only against Republicans.

What do you do if you're Osama with an S? Easy. You attack where the enemy is retreating. Money is fungible, truck bombs can be bought and Muslim suiciders travel. The Americans are pulling back in Iraq, so that's where you start to truck-bomb civilians again, to show that they can't rely on the Americans, and the Iraqi government is helpless. The goal is to spread terror until the people buckle under again. What would you do if a terror group were free to explode truck bombs in your supermarket?

Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
By Peter Huessy, Family Security Matters, September 16, 2009

When the Bush administration took office, the specter of proliferating nuclear weapons was high on its agenda. During the previous decade, six key nations acquired, tested or sought nuclear weapons, including North Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and India. Except for the last two, all were signatories to the NPT or Non Proliferation Treaty, in which they pledged not to acquire nuclear weapons.

The past policies inherited by the new administration were seriously inadequate to the task they faced. Part of the problem was the conventional wisdom over the extent and nature of these weapons programs. For example, while Libyaís chemical weapons program was a brief concern in 1996, its nuclear program was considered largely non-existent. North Koreaís 1994 nuclear agreement with the U.S., Japan and the Republic of Korea was widely hailed as comprehensive and a success. As for Iran, the U.S. and the European Union had sought to deal with the mullahs through economic engagement and trade. In addition, the intelligence community missed the nuclear bomb tests of Pakistan and India, largely because U.S. policy had soft-pedaled Pakistanís nuclear program in order to secure its participation in the comprehensive test ban treaty, while India was still not divided from its past close association with the Soviet Union, making approaches from the United States difficult.

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From Elsewhere

Civilizing Discourse on the Public Option
By Jordan Ballor, Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, September 16, 2009

Rather than pushing for a "public" option that relies on government bureaucracy to underwrite a competitor for private insurance companies, the presidentís plan ought to call for greater "non-profit" or "charitable" options that arise out of the spontaneous and voluntary character of civil society.

While there are established non-profit insurance entities, like many members of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, there are also newly burgeoning charitable and non-profit efforts that would be endangered if a new government-subsidized public option emerges. A recent WORLD Magazine report described the tenuous situation of health care sharing ministries (HCSMs), which could be excluded by the presidentís plan. James Lansberry, president of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, has said, "We are looking at complete obliteration of the ministries as they exist." HCSMs like Samaritan Ministries International, Christian Care Medi-Share, and Christian Health Care Ministries currently represent about 34,000 families nationwide. And while there is great potential for this number to rise dramatically in the future, the value represented of these kinds of embryonic efforts lies not just in the numbers but especially in the diversity of grassroots and community-based efforts to meet health care needs.

EXPLOSIVE New Audio Reveals White House Using NEA to Push Partisan Agenda
By Patrick Courrielche, Big Hollywood, September 21, 2009

*NEA conference call full audio and transcript here**

Should the National Endowment for the Arts encourage artists to create art on issues being vehemently debated nationally? That is the question that I set out to discuss a little over three weeks ago when I wrote an article on Big Hollywood entitled The National Endowment for the Art of Persuasion?"

The question still requires debate but the facts do not. The NEA and the White House did encourage a handpicked, pro-Obama arts group to address politically controversial issues under contentious national debate. That fact is irrefutable.

Related: 'Artists' as Servants of Power

ACORN Wants Another $6 Million Despite Scandals
By Kevin Mooney, Washington Examiner, September 14, 2009

An ACORN affiliate has just submitted applications for over $6 million in government funding, despite the controversial videos of the organizationís workers aiding a child prostitution "promoter."

Democrats Tell FCC to Push For 'Net Neutrality'
By Fawn Johnson, The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2009

Republican lawmakers said they would fight net neutrality legislation. "I'm very weary of talk of efforts to increase regulations where there is really no compelling case to do so," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.).

A federal appeals court is reviewing the FCC's citation last year of Comcast for throttling certain high-bandwidth video applications. The FCC said the practice violated its Internet principles, but opponents said the FCC doesn't have authority to impose such punishments. Industry insiders say little government action will occur on net neutrality until the court rules.

ACORN's Recent History with Prostitution
From National Reviewís "The Campaign Spot", September 18, 2009

Perhaps we shouldn't have been completely surprised by the videos we've seen of ACORN workers offering assistance to prostitution rings.

ACORNís Roots Watered by Taxpayers
By Bret Jacobson, Big Government, September 14, 2009

Until recently, few knew much about ACORN or the reach of its 300-plus organizations with a hundred-million-dollar budget. The main financial sustenance for the behemoth comes from unions (which outsource dirty work, strategy, and anti-corporate attacks to the group), powerful and politically minded non-profit foundations, political campaigns (including $800,000 from then-Senator Barack Obamaís presidential campaign in 2008) and taxpayer money.

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