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True North Archives - October 23, 2007
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Vermont’s Economic & Demographic Crisis: Its Symptoms
By Tom Licata

Here is a list of Vermont's unfunded liabilities and expenses that total approximately $3.5 billion. Senator Shumlin is on record as saying: "Vermonters do not have the additional earning capacity to raise [even] $250-$350 million." Folks, look at the numbers and demographics below; we’re not going to tax ourselves out of this hole:

The Coming Carbon Carnival
By John McClaughry

The Democratic leaders of the legislature, terrified by the Menace of Global Warming, spent most of this year's session trying to find one or more taxes to increase to pay for a new government "thermal efficiency" utility. This entity would spend $6 million a year to send its employees around the state to explain to Vermonters that if they would just curb their consumption of heating fuels, they would save money! They finally settled on taxing the electricity produced by the state's cleanest, most reliable, lowest-price provider of electrical energy, the Entergy Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

The Politics of Personal Transformation
By Robert Maynard

I would like to focus on the central issue of relationship and transformation, for these are the concepts that have always been at the heart of Christianity. The dying of the old self and the subsequent new birth in relationship to God are the heart and soul of Christianity. On this point, I have no argument with Professor [Biblical scholar Marcus] Borg. Where I dissent is his contention that "Progressive Christianity" is somehow more genuine. Borg described progressive Christianity as a "way" or a "path" that is politically as well as theologically progressive: "It affirms God's passion as justice and peace. So its political issues are very different than the political issues of the Christian Right, …"

Here we arrive at the crux of the matter, Borg is trying to enlist the growing social influence of Christians in the service of "Progressive Politics". While it is true that Christianity affirms God’s passion for justice, I do not buy into the fact that God’s notion of justice coincides with the Progressive notion of justice. Progressives tend to buy into Philosopher John Rawls conception of Justice, in particular, the notion of "Distributive Justice". Is this the notion of justice promoted in the Judeo-Christian Bible? The Progressive notion of justice is more of a collectivist social notion being imposed from the top down by the state. How does that match up with the ideal of personal transformation through a direct relationship with God and the individual human soul? The latter view is one of social justice that comes from the bottom up as a result of individual transformations. The goal is personal transformation, social change comes about as a result of such transformations. Let us take a closer look at the origins of the Biblical view of justice.

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"Arguably the biggest threat facing the U.S. today is our own fiscal irresponsibility, and very few people are willing to state the facts and speak the truth." "Continuing on this unsustainable path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage, our economy, our standard of living, and ultimately our domestic tranquility and national security." -- David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Problems on the Horizon
From, October 17, 2007

Vermont's electricity grid is linked to New England's, and if Vermont Yankee goes offline in 2012 and we lose HydroQuebec contracts around that time, there's not going to be any spare New England capacity to bail Vermont out.  The result will be skyrocketing electricity prices, as Vermont utilities will be forced to pay the spot price for power.  It won't be a pretty sight.

Ignoring The Bear In The Living Room
Caledonian Record Editorial,October 17, 2007

A couple of months ago, the Tax Foundation published a study that showed Vermont to be the highest per capita taxing state in the union. That didn't come as a surprise to Vermont taxpayers who have known for a long time that our tax burden is oppressive, more so than that of other Americans. It did, though, distress Vermont's Progressives and Democrats because it threw a monkey wrench into their plans to push new taxes onto Vermonters at the next legislative session in order to advance their social agenda. After all, if our taxes are already at the apex of the public tax burden, why would anyone undertake to make them even higher? So the Democrats, aided and abetted by the Joint Fiscal Committee, published their own tax study. Not surprisingly, the Democrats found that Vermonters' tax burden is not the highest in the nation.

VTNEA says jump. Will D's say how high (do you want us to raise property taxes)?
From Rob Roper, October 18, 2007

Today, Angelo Dorta, the VTNEA and the National Education Association (NEA) are calling on the Democrats in Montpelier to undo the bipartisan (23-4 in the Senate, 70-60 in the House) compromise on education quality and cost control, Act 82. Vermonters, who are screaming for property tax relief, now have a crystal clear opportunity to see if the Democrat super-majority in Montpelier is capable of governing on behalf of the people, or if it is little more than a tool of this special interest group. We call on Democrat legislators--particularly Speaker Symington and Senator Shumlin--to reiterate their support for this modest step that could help slow the increases in Vermont's oppressive property tax burden.  If they choose to remain silent or speak unconvincingly, we will know where their allegiance really lies: with the union bosses and NOT with our taxpayers or local voters.

Push Comes To Shove, October 17, 2007 

The Entergy Corporation -- owner of that satanic facility known as Vermont Yankee -- is being accused of employing dirty tricks to advance its sinister cause.  Namely the relicensing of the plant which, by the way, supplies around 1/3 of Vermont's electricity at less than market.  So the question would seem to be not, "Is Entergy using questionable tactics to move opinion?" but "Why does it have to?"

Peter Welch Reverts To Type
Caledonian Record Editorial, October 19, 2007

Back when Vermont elected Peter Welch to replace Bernie Sanders in the U.S. House of Representatives, we had some hope that he would do his own thinking and not become a rubber stamp for the far left of the Democratic Party. After all, for the last few years, as president pro tem of the Vermont Senate, he was on the left, but not so far that he was a doctrinaire liberal leftist. Now, we aren't so sure.

Minding the Celtic Tiger
From The American (from, October 21, 2007

We'll always link to a story about Ireland's economic breakthrough.  Would that Vermont followed the Irish lead.  Then, when people used the phrase Vermont Tiger, they would be talking about more than a web site.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Holy War and Anti War: An Axis against Nature
By Walid Phares, The American Thinker, October 15, 2007

The oddest of all factional relationships is the open alliance between the Jihadists and the so-called "antiwar" neo-Left movement in the West. The jumble of causes thrown together is mind-bending:  globalization hobnobs with the caliphate, class struggle with Wahabism, proletariat with infidels, and North Korea with Palestine. While still shedding each others' blood, the Reds (neo-Left) and the Dark Greens (Islamists) are conducting a joint offensive against both democracy-pushing America and the democracy-craving Middle East. They are not letting old or new grudges get in their way.

Portents of A Nuclear Al-Qaeda
By David Ignatius, The Washington Post, October 17, 2007

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen is paid to think about the unthinkable. As the Energy Department's director of intelligence, he's responsible for gathering information about the threat that a terrorist group will attack America with a nuclear weapon. With his shock of white hair and piercing eyes, Mowatt-Larssen looks like a man who has seen a ghost. And when you listen to a version of the briefing he has been giving recently to President Bush and other top officials, you begin to understand why. He is convinced that al-Qaeda is trying to acquire a nuclear bomb that will leave the ultimate terrorist signature -- a mushroom cloud. ... Mowatt-Larssen argues that for nearly a decade before Sept. 11, al-Qaeda was seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. As early as 1993, Osama bin Laden offered $1.5 million to buy uranium for a nuclear device, according to testimony presented in federal court in February 2001. When the al-Qaeda leader was asked in 1998 if he had nuclear or chemical weapons, he responded: "Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so."

Putin's Persian Pals: Using Iran to Vex the West
Wants Tehran to join OPEC-like cartel for natural gas.
By Peter Brookes, The New York Post, October 18, 2007

At his press conference yes terday, President Bush seemed surprised to learn of Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments in Tehran rejecting the use of force in the Caspian region - a clear warning to the United States not to use the military option to deal with Iran's nuclear program. In fact, Putin plainly means to use Iran as a lever against America and the West. His historic visit to Tehran this week - the first by a Russian leader since Stalin met the Allies in Tehran in 1943 - was just the latest sign.

Pak Military Offers AQ Safe Passage to Afghanistan?
By Steve Schippert, National Review Online, October 18, 2007

Syed Saleem Shahzad is reporting that a "top Pakistani security official" has told him on condition of anonymity that the Pakistani military will soon begin commencing operations "to pacify Waziristan once and for all." Serious questions remain about the Pakistani military's ability to do so where, unlike Iraq, al-Qaeda enjoys broad popular support throughout much of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Pak-Afghan border, including North and South Waziristan. 

Whatever one thinks of the stated intent to"pacify Waziristan once and for all," leaders should pause to consider what Musharraf's government offered al-Qaeda and the Taliban — according to Shahzad's "top Pakistani security official" source — in order to avoid the confrontation the official says the Pakistani military now seeks.

Radical Islam's Willing Bloggers
By Patrick Poole, The American Thinker, October 2007

The burgeoning left wing smear industry, set up to manufacture attacks on conservatives, has its own radical Islam sector. I know this by personal experience. Earlier this week I reported that a known HAMAS operative was scheduled to speak at the Ohio State Capitol later this month (see Thomas Lifson's related blog entry). Within hours, a leftist attack blogger affiliated with the Ohio Democratic Party had published an ad hominem broadside in response parroting talking points prepared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The First and Last Enemy: Jew-Hatred in Islam
By Andrew G. Bostom, The American Thinker, October 19, 2007

Fawaz Damra, the former Imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland was convicted in 2004 for lying to immigration officials about his links to the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and subsequently deported. Yet Damra was touted as a promoter of  interfaith dialogue even after evidence of his participation in fundraising events for the PIJ, was produced, along with a videotape of the Imam telling a crowd of Muslim supporters in 1991 that they should aim "...a rifle at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation, and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews." 

As I will demonstrate, Imam Damra's blatant Jew-hatred was fully sanctioned by -- indeed he was merely paraphrasing, and quoting directly from -- the core religious texts of Islam. And the historical treatment of Jews in Muslim societies has been consistent with this sacralized religious bigotry. Sheer ignorance of such theology and history, combined with craven denial, allowed Damra's words to go unchallenged for more than a decade. However the Damra affair is pathognomonic of a much larger and more dangerous phenomenon: the complete, often willful failure to examine and understand the living legacy of Islam's foundational anti-Jewish animus.

What A Difference A Year Makes
By Michael Barone, National Review Online, October 22, 2007

Things are not working out as Democratic congressional leaders expected. For the first eight months of this year, they struggled to find some way to shut down the American military effort in Iraq. They took it for granted that we were stuck in a quagmire in Iraq, with continuous high casualties and very little to show for them. ...  Then, over the summer, the news out of Iraq started to get better. ...

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From Elsewhere

Moral legislation
Part 8 of 'The Crisis of the Republic'
By Alan Keyes, 2007 Renew America

In a republic such as the United States is supposed to be, the sovereignty of the people derives from and reflects the personal sovereignty of the individuals who comprise it. Therefore, the capacity for private choice and the nature of the choices made are inherently matters of public consequence. ... Any choice that involves a judgment about good and bad, and that defines right or wrong action in terms of that judgment, is a moral choice. This means that when, by law, government restricts private choice in the name of health or a clean environment, it legislates morality.

7 Things To Know About the Clintons
By R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Human Events, October 18, 2007

This week, it was reported in the authoritative Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, that Don Van Natta Jr. and Jeff Gerth included some unsavory news about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in "Her Way," their recent book about her. Hillary, during the 1992 presidential campaign, "listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics." Washington observers appeared shocked. Mein Gott, where have they been all these years? The Clintons have engaged in brute behavior for decades, much of it a matter of record. The Hill's report moves me to list seven issues every American should know about the Clintons before 2008. Journalists should be particularly interested, as well as Democrats intent on avoiding a repeat of the Clinton 1990s.

Related: Sandy Berger and the Real Hillary Clinton

Related: Dishwashers For Clinton

The Uncivilizing Revolution of The West
By Reginald Firehammer, The Automist

If it were possible to bring someone from the nineteenth century to the world of today, it would be totally incomprehensible to them. The differences in the two periods (1900s vs 2000s) as described by Michael Crichton are primarily scientific and technological. If you could bring someone from the 1950s into today's world, they also would not recognize it; they would, in fact, be horrified. There is no doubt in my mind, that if they believed in Hell, they would be convinced that is where they had landed. Some of the difference between the 50s and today are scientific and technological, but the primary differences, the ones that would scandalize the visitor from the fifties are cultural and social, because what they would be seeing is a society that is losing the last vestiges of Western Civilization.

Earmarxists Commemorate the Hippie Summer of Love
By Jed Babbin, Human Events, October 17, 2007

Is there any wonder that -- according to RealClearPolitics -- Congress’ job approval is still under 25%? The wonder is that anyone still supports the Reid-Pelosi two-ring circus. It’s fair to ask: do all those who still like Congress benefit directly from the dispensation of earmarks? The Earmarxists are still in charge. Among them, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer are earning the reputation as champ spenders. This time, according to Senate sources, the two New York senators have come up with a beaut: $1 million of your hard-earned (and easily taxed) money goes to the Hippie Summer of Love Flashback museum. It’s tacked onto the 2008 appropriations bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

Barnes: "The Big Mo"
By Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard, October 17, 2007

The political direction in Washington is shifting. The White House, in a defensive crouch for much of 2007, is beginning to go on offense. The Democratic Congress is increasingly on defense. If this trend continues, the dreary prospects for Republicans in the 2008 election may improve.

Who’s For S-CHIP? Everyone, Unfortunately.
If only Bush was as bad as Democrats say he is.
By Peter Suderman, National Review Online, October 18, 2007 

Conservatives have taken up plenty of column space decrying the Democrats’ proposed expansion of the program. Few, however, have bothered to note that Bush’s proposal isn’t much better, especially when you take into consideration his recent indications that he might be willing to spend even more than he first proposed. And make no mistake, despite all the fluffy talk about helping children, S-CHIP is a program that should be opposed in its entirety. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon has argued that the program boosts drug prices for everyone in the country, as drug companies make up for the lower prices paid by the government by padding the prices for the rest of us. Meanwhile, he says, the program doesn’t help the poor, but rather encourages them to stay in the low-income brackets covered by S-CHIP. When working harder to earn more money results in a net loss, why bother? ...

Yet the White House, and indeed, most Republicans in Congress, has decided to fall in line with the Democrats’ broad goals for the program, choosing only to make weak arguments about how much additional money ought to be spent. It’s no wonder the party is in such bad shape. When all Republicans have to offer is a watered down version of program backed by Democrats, it shouldn’t be a surprise when the public doesn’t bite." 

An Inconvenient Peace Prize
By Bjorn Lomborg , The Boston Globe, October 13, 2007

This Year's Nobel Peace Prize justly rewards the thousands of scientists of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These scientists are engaged in excellent, painstaking work that establishes exactly what the world should expect from climate change. The other award winner, former US vice president Al Gore, has spent much more time telling us what to fear. While the IPCC's estimates and conclusions are grounded in careful study, Gore doesn't seem to be similarly restrained.

Related: Al Gore's Nobel Propaganda Prize

Limbaugh Letter Fetches $2.1 Million on eBay
From Fox News, October 21, 2007

The conservative radio talk-show host turned an inflammatory letter written by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and signed by 41 of his fellow Democrats into a more than $4.2 million gold mine for the kids of Marines and law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty, all courtesy of eBay.

ABC's Couric Portrays Plame as Heroic Victim of White House 'Smear'
From  the Media Research Center CyberAlert, October 22, 2007

Katie Couric's Sunday 60 Minutes interview, to promote Valerie Plame's new book, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, framed the story just as the media have all along -- Painting Plame as a heroic victim of an orchestrated "smear"...

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