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True North Archives - November 27, 2007
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Homegrown Terrorism: Freedom Under Fire I
By Robert Maynard

The first thing we have to understand is the notion of "autonomous jihad". It is true that we have done a good job of dismantling al Qaeda’s command and communication structure, but that is not going to stop this form of jihad, which does not rely on a central command structure but a loose, unaffiliated collection of groups and individuals welded together by a common ideology. The explosion of internet use has provided the means for these unaffiliated groups and individuals to communicate and spread their ideology. In essence, the real battle is against an ideology rather than a group. That ideology is spreading far faster than we are able to keep track of. By the time we identify a potential terrorist, a process of "radicalization" has already taken place that has transformed the individual in question into a jihadist. The aim of the study is to understand the process of radicalization.

Margaret Sanger, Eugenics and Planned Parenthood
By Mary Beerworth 

Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a wildly controversial figure in American history and a fierce advocate of eugenics and population control. The organization Sanger founded is now the largest single provider of abortions in the State of Vermont, the United States of America and in the world. Thanks to Sanger and those who embraced her politics and her activism, a movement took hold in the U.S. that ultimately resulted in government-backed, forced sterilization programs. The eugenics projects that ran unfettered in the early 1920’s here in Vermont targeted "certain people" for involuntary sterilization and effectively guaranteed that untold numbers of Vermonters would never bear children. That sad chapter in both our state and national history has been largely glossed over. Yet it is a chapter we ignore at our own peril because those forces who desire to pass laws to legalize the assisted killing of the elderly, the ill, and the disabled spring from the same mindset – the mindset that promoted the "eugenics projects," that promotes "population control," abortion, and ultimately, euthanasia - and it is important for pro-lifers to better understand what drives these negative forces. 

Congestion Pricing II
By Martin Harris

Over recent decades there’s been a lot of fairly heated rhetoric about the growing traffic crisis on US 7, and as so frequently is the case, a look at the numbers doesn’t support the rhetoric. Unlike the public schools, the State Highway Department (its name is now the more-prestigious-sounding Agency of Transportation) hasn’t yet decided to keep its numbers secret so as to prevent unwanted analysis by outsiders, and so you can go to the web site to see the daily traffic count for, say, various points along the one-time "great Road" (meaning a six-rod right-of-way, or 99 feet) in recent years. In the Middlebury area, the numbers vary from less than 10,000 to about 15,000, and, interestingly, they haven’t been growing in "unsustainable" (ya gotta love that word) manner in recent years; some points have actually shown a minor year-to-year decline. Brandon scores at the low end of that range, Rutland at more than twice as much. Nevertheless, in politics ( yes, Virginia, there is an element of politics in publicly-funded road design and construction), facts count for less than perceptions, and so the belief that Middlebury’s Route 7 traffic crisis is real and growing trumps the reality of the fairly light actual daily traffic volume.

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The Outdoor Forum

(The following stories come to us courtesy of our friends at Outdoors Magazine

Julio Buel: A Lucky Day Fishing

It is rumored that Julio Buel used to say that he loved to fish "almost as much as anything he could think of," and it is this passion, and a little luck, that would lead him to change the face of fishing forever.

Buel was born in 1806 in East Poultney. A short time later the family moved to Castleton. His father, a furrier, kept a boat on nearby Lake Bomoseen.

When Julio wasn’t working or doing chores on the farm, he could usually be found fishing. The story goes that one day, he was out in the boat in Lake Bomoseen, and was eating some fruit for lunch out of an earthenware jar. The boat bumped a log, and Julio dropped the spoon he was using over the side of the boat. This was no laughing matter, in the early 19th century silverware was actually made of silver, and was considered quite valuable by the owners.

As Buel was helplessly watching the spoon drift to the bottom of the lake, he saw a big lake trout swirl at it, and swim off with it in it’s mouth.

That night at home Julio swiped another spoon, and soldered a hook to it. He cut off the handle and added a hole to tie his line to.

The next morning he talked one of his brothers into doing his chores and rowed up and down the lake trolling his new invention. It didn’t take long before one of Bomoseen’s big trout hit his homemade lure, and the Julio knew he was onto something. A few minutes later he would catch a second fish.

Those two big fish attracted a lot of attention, and Buel finally told his neighbors how he had caught them. Almost overnight, he began commercially manufacturing fishing lures. In a short period he began making them out of copper as well as silver, and even painted some a bright red color.

At the age of 21 Buell moved to the bustling canal town of Whitehall New York where he became a furrier and taxidermist. He still made some lures though, and sold them commercially.

A patent was issued to Buel in 1841 for the fishing spoon. Others would follow for various fishing related items. In 1876 his lure won a medal at the Philadelphia Exposition.

Because of ill health, Buel sold his company to Charles Pike in 1885, who continued to make fishing items. Julio would die the following year.

Today, the J.T. Buel Company is owned by Eppinger lures, one of the countries premiere tackle producers.

Posting Options

Come October they start to appear on trees and fence posts across Vermont. Some are orange, others are yellow, a few are even white. It is not leaves I am referring to, but "posted" signs.

If you are not "from around here" you may not understand what I am talking about. Posted signs are most commonly used by landowners to tell hunters their land is off-limits.

There are several reasons why land gets posted. Some of the most common include a desire to protect yourself and your family, a bad experience with a hunter in the past, and fear of civil repercussions if someone is injured on your property.

Realistically, posting property is not always the best answer to these concerns.

Landowners basically have four options when it come to posting. The first is to not post at all, the second is to post with "Safety Zone" signs, the third is using "Hunting By Permission Only" signs, and the last is to post with traditional "Posted" signs. Each has their distinct advantage and disadvantages.

When using traditional "Posted" signs there are several criteria that need to be met for them to be legal. Signs have to meet certain size criteria, they have to be placed every 500 feet, corners have to be marked, they have to be signed by the landowner yearly, they have to be registered with the town and a fee has to be paid. Ironically, posted signs do nothing for liability. In fact, thanks to a 1997 Legislative decision, a landowner is not liable for anyone using their property for recreational use, with or without permission, even if he knew there were unsafe conditions on the property (abandoned wells, etc). 

An alternative to traditional posting is the use of "Safety Zone" signs.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department distributes "Safety Zone" signs free to the public via Game Wardens and at most State Police barracks (call ahead). The are designed to be used within 150 yards of a house, barn etc and serve to inform hunters that they are close to a building. They are perfect in situations where a landowner wants to keep their land open to recreation, but also wants to make sure hunters are aware people and pets may be in the immediate vicinity.

"Hunting By Permission Only" signs are another alternative. These insure that a landowner knows who is on their property and when. This also allows the landowner access to the knowledge these hunters might gain to help them police their property. I once heard it said by a convicted trespasser that he was much less likely to trespass on land protected in this method because he never knew who may be on the property, compared to traditional posting where he was relatively confident no one was there.

In Vermont, unless land is posted it is considered to be legally accessible. Many hunters feel it is unethical to go onto someone else’s property without first gaining permission, while others feel it is within their rights.

Unfortunately, all too often posted signs are mis-used by the landowner. When a few "No Hunting" signs are hung randomly on trees it is unfair to hunters. They don't know boundaries or areas to avoid. The result is often frustration for all parties concerned. 

In a perfect world there wouldn't be a need for posted signs, unfortunately that is not reality. The best advice is to thoroughly examine your goals before placing any restrictions on property access, and find the best solution for all involved.

Kyle Scanlon is Editor of Outdoors Magazine

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

But We'll Get Sued!
From, November 25, 2007

"We can't cut our special education budget any further.  If we do not provide required services to special needs students, we'll be exposing ourselves to litigation."

Have you ever heard a statement like that in a school board meeting or seen it quoted in the paper?  Statements like that should not go unchallenged.  But they do, because the only people who know better are intimately involved in the process, and those are the people who want to spend more.

Slumping Economy Calls For Caution
Caledonia Record Editorial, November 19, 2007

A report titled "Vermont Economic Output" should give serious pause to any dreamers in the Vermont Legislature who may harbor the delusion that 2008 is a dandy time to increase taxes. The report, written by economists Jeff Carr and Zachary Sears, predicts an inflation adjusted decline of three tenths of one percent in the gross state product for 2007. The gross state product is the total value of Vermont's goods and services for a year.

Don't Pile On, Governor
Caledonia Record Editorial, November 24, 2007

Sadly, Governor Douglas has joined the pile-on of Vermont Yankee. The Douglas administration has long resisted public calls for an independent safety audit of Vermont Yankee, most recently made by the state's congressional delegation. But, the administration recently indicated that the NRC's standard oversight process is insufficient, noting that several recent events at the plant had diminished the public's confidence in its safety and the adequacy of its oversight. Public Service Commissioner David O'Brien, Douglas's man, said, "The governor basically has asked me to work very closely with the congressional delegation to come up with an independent safety assessment that we can all be confident in - that will answer the sort of questions that are being asked about Vermont Yankee. I think we make decisions based on the circumstances we're in and the facts we're looking at. From the governor's perspective, he's not comfortable right now, especially after the past six months - with the cooling tower failure and the valve failure."

This administration reversal is pure politics and unworthy of Douglas.

Looking Back on That Important Vote: Where Was Your Representative?
From, November 24, 2007

There was an important vote taken in the House back in 2005.  It only meant a few hundred dollars to Vermont's non-union teachers.  Of course, it meant a good chunk of change to Vermont-NEA.  But the average Vermonter didn't really care about the issue of whether non-union teachers would be charged a fee by their local unions.  No, the "agency fees" vote wasn't a particularly high-stakes vote.  Instead, the importance of it was that it revealed the character of Vermont's House members.

The bill passed on a voice vote.  But the important vote was a roll call vote on an amendment made by Rep. Kilmartin (R-Newport).  The amendment would cap the fee at one-third of the normal dues, thus making everyone pay their share of negotiating expenses but not subjecting everyone to making contributions to political causes they didn't support.  (There was even a provision in the amendment for the union to exceed the one-third cap if they could demonstrate to the Vermont Labor Relations Board that more money was required to cover the actual negotiating costs.)  There could be no philosophical objection to voting for this amendment.  The only motivation would be loyalty to the greedy people at Vermont-NEA who wanted all of the money.  The amendment failed 93-38.

World Bank on Education
From, November 25, 2007

A World Bank report entitled "Education Quality and Economic Growth" argues that smart kids earn more and that better teachers, accountability, and school choice improve cognitive skills. The report found that if you give poor African or Asian children teachers who are held accountable for the students' performance and you give the students some choice in selecting schools, the students will perform better. Strangely, these same arguments applied to our own education system evoke hostility. We're told teachers can't be fairly evaluated so there's no way to hold them accountable. We're told school choice won't improve anything.  We're told equalized and excessive state controlled spending is the answer. We're told what to do with very little local control. Do you suppose the World Bank's recommendations really only work in third world countries? Or, might they also apply to Vermont and elsewhere? Download the report and decide for yourself -- and do it soon before the World Bank finds out we're taking it out of context to make libertarian arguments.

A Political Bird Of Two Colors
Caledonian Record Editorial, November 20, 2007

Sen. Bartlett's heretical fiscal conservatism comes from her very clear understanding that there isn't enough money to go around, no matter how badly her Democratic colleagues want it to. Wishing doesn't make it so. So, whenever push comes to shove in the Senate on fiscal issues, or bills that will require new taxes, her voice of caution is as dependable as any Republican in the Senate. The conflict between her liberal politics and her practical knowledge of how much or how little money can be squeezed out to make the liberals' dreams come true must cause her some serious angst.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Seeds of Commerce Planted in Former al-Qaida Sanctuary
By Sgt. Jason Stadel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 3rd Infantry Division, November 24, 2007 

With al-Qaida’s ability to carry out violent attacks withering in the face of sustained Coalition offensive operations and Concerned Local Citizen activism, the Iraqi people are now looking to return to the livelihoods and ways of life they used to know. Their desires are being met, in part, through the assistance of a U.S.-led initiative that distributes "micro-grants" of up to $10,000 to promising Iraqi businesses that demonstrate growth potential.

Better Security Sees Iraqi Refugees Flood Home
From The Times Online (UK), November 21, 2007

Iraqi refugees are returning home in dramatic numbers, concluding that security in Baghdad has been transformed. Thousands have left their refuge in Syria in recent months, according to some estimates. The Iraqi Embassy is organising a secure mass convoy from Damascus to Baghdad on Monday for refugees who want to drive back. Embassy notices went up around the Syrian capital yesterday, offering free bus and train rides home. 

Saida Zaynab, the Damascus neighbourhoods once dominated by many of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees, is almost deserted. Apartment prices are plummeting and once-crowded shops and buses are half empty. Syria has absorbed the lion’s share of Iraqi refugees since the US-led invasion and subsequent insurgency, with the rest going to Jordan, Egypt and other countries around the region. They, too, report a growing number of returnees. 

Hussein Ali Saleh, the director of the National Theatre in Baghdad, who is staging Iraqi plays for refugees in Damascus, said that his audience was disappearing. A month ago the al-Najum theatre near the Syrian central bank building was filled with 400 Iraqis every night. Now barely 50 turn up. "In the last month, 60 per cent of the Iraqis I know have returned," he said. "The situation has been changed completely. They all want to go back. Even my own family back in Baghdad is telling me the situation is much better."

Most Iraqis interviewed by The Times seemed enthusiastic rather than despondent. "Throughout history Baghdad has fallen many times but she always rose up again," Abu Ibrahim said. "We all know this and that’s why we return. We return to rebuild Baghdad now."

Shiites in S. Iraq Rebuke Tehran
Petition Calls for U.N. Probe into Iran's Influence, Sheiks Say
By Amit R. Paley and Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post Foreign Service, November 22, 2007

More than 300,000 Shiite Muslims from southern Iraq have signed a petition condemning Iran for fomenting violence in Iraq, according to a group of sheiks leading the campaign.

"The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq," said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "Their influence is everywhere."

The unusually organized Iraqi rebuke illustrates the divisions that Iran has provoked among Iraq's majority Shiites. The prime minister and major political blocs are closely tied to Iran, but the petition organizers said many citizens are fiercely opposed to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Beneath Contempt -- even by Jihadist Madman Standards
By Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, November 21, 2007

Today's Australian is offering new details almost too horrific to believe about last month's attempt to kill former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as she emerged from exile.  It appears that the "suicide bomb" that killed 170 and wounded hundreds more was strapped to the tiny body of a one-year-old child, being carried by its despicable jihadist father.

The Proliferation Dodge
By Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, November 20, 2007 

According to foreign reports, Israel destroyed a nuclear weapons installation in Syria in September. Never has a larger story been pushed under the rug by so many so quickly. What are we to make of this? 

Over the weekend former federal prosecutor and the head of the non-governmental International Intelligence Summit, John Loftus, released a report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. His report was based on a private study of captured Iraqi documents. These were the unread Arabic language documents that U.S. forces seized, but had not managed to translate after overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 2003. 

After a prolonged battle between Congress and then director of U.S. National Intelligence John Negroponte, President George W. Bush ordered those documents posted on a public access Web site last year. They were taken down after it was discovered that among the Iraqi documents were precise descriptions of how to build nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam 101: A History
By Daryl L. Hunter, Citizens For a Freer America, November 25, 2008

In the wake of the Iraq War, there has been much Monday morning quarter backing by America's weak offensive line (liberals) who insist the "War on Terror" is to be waged only against Osuma bin ladens al Qaeda. This essay is to make the connection of pan-Islamo Fascism and its long terrorism history. As the democratic world confronts al Qeada's Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah 's Hassan Nasrallah, and their followers, many among us are trying to understand militant Islam, where it came from and its aims. The following background material is designed to give an overview of the phenomenon that has been called "militant Islam," "fundamentalist Islam," "Islamo Fascism" "Islamism," or "radical Islam."

"Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." - The Muslim Brotherhood

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From Elsewhere

What if Economic Conservatives Stay Home on Election Day?
By Michael D. Tanner, The Cato Institute

There is no doubt that religious conservatives are an important part of the Republican coalition. Yet the media, and more importantly, the candidates, seem curiously unconcerned with another discontented part of that coalition: economic, small-government conservatives.

Yet it was the Republicans' big-spending, big-government ways that helped ensure their defeat in the 2006 midterm elections. It wasn't evangelical Christians or so-called "values voters" who deserted Republicans. Roughly 70 percent of white evangelicals and born-again Christians voted Republican in 2006, just a fraction less than in 2004.

It was suburbanites, independents, and others who were fed up not just with the war and corruption, but also with the Republican drift toward big-government who stayed home, or even voted Democratic, on election day 2006. That night, more than 65 percent of voters told a pollster they believed that "The Republicans used to be the party of economic growth, fiscal discipline, and limited government, but in recent years, too many Republicans in Washington have become just like the big spenders they used to oppose."

Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality
By Dennis Prager, Catholic Education Resource Center

When Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channeled into marriage, it changed the world. The Torah's prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the creation of Western civilization possible.

American Decadence—Part 3 of 4
The Characteristics of an Uncivilized People
By Reginald Firehammer, The Automist

I sometimes hear the attitude expressed that what appears to be decadence is just human nature. After all there has always been prostitution, viciousness, and sexual assaults in the world—and its true, because throughout most of the world for most of its recorded history people have mostly been uncivilized, at best semi-barbarian, at worst total savages. Truly civilized society has been but a flash on the screen of history, a flash that is about to be extinguished.

Historically, every society that has achieved some level of cultural development, has ultimately reached a stage of decline and decadence that was either the immediate cause of that society's collapse, or producing a society so decayed, it had no strength to repel some invading or conquering outside power. All of the characteristics of a decayed culture and society I've described in America today is nothing new, however, it has always been a part of declining cultures. From the obsession with sex and sexuality to child prostitution, every society that has ultimately collapsed into vicious chaos has exhibited the same characteristics.

The destruction of Pompeii was a natural event, but its cultural decadence reflected the decadence that permeated Roman society, a forecast of the pending fall of Rome, four hundred years later. Pompeii's pornographic art is just like today's. [ WARNING—The following links are very explicit, and very clinical, and very offensive.] For example, this, this, or these depictions.]

Miracle of Plenty
We have a lot to be thankful for
By Rich Lowry, National Review, November 20, 2007

In his eye-opening new book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Gregory Clark produces a chart tracking income per person throughout history. By Clark’s account, it is essentially flat from 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1800, reflecting the crushing burden of providing for our material wants in an environment of economic stasis. Then, income per person explodes upward around 1800, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution that first arrived in England. Without it, most of us would still be living poor, nasty, brutish and short lives.

How poor? "The average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than the average person of 100,000 B.C.," Clark argues. "Life expectancy was no higher in 1800 than for hunter-gatherers: 30 to 35 years. Stature, a measure both of the quality of diet and of children’s exposure to disease, was higher in the Stone Age than in 1800. And while foragers satisfy their material wants with small amounts of work, the modest comforts of the English in 1800 were purchased only through a life of unrelenting drudgery."

Throughout most of history, Clark argues, humankind was caught in a "Malthusian trap": Small economic advances were outpaced by resulting population growth that made it impossible for living standards to increase. The massive productivity gains of the Industrial Revolution — driven essentially by expanding knowledge — broke the trap and created modern life as we know it.

Income Confusion
By Thomas Sowell, Human Events, November 20, 2007

Anyone who follows the media has probably heard many times that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and incomes of the population in general are stagnating. Moreover, those who say such things can produce many statistics, including data from the Census Bureau, which seem to indicate that. On the other hand, income tax data recently released by the Internal Revenue Service seem to show the exact opposite: People in the bottom fifth of income-tax filers in 1996 had their incomes increase by 91 percent by 2005. The top one percent -- "the rich" who are supposed to be monopolizing the money, according to the left -- saw their incomes decline by a whopping 26 percent

The European Union as Humpty Dumpty
By Terry Easton, Human Events, November 21, 2007

So any weakening in the EU fabric -- however slight -- will be perceived by the Brussels as a threat to the group unity and a sign to those at the edges (like the UK) that there can be a break-up process which would provide a better more democratic method of home governance and group hugs.  When the threat to the EU polity comes from Brussels, the near city-state at the very heart of the EU, this is indeed a big deal in the power brokers and bureaucrats offices throughout the EU (and who work mostly in Brussels itself). Picture Washington, D.C. deciding that it will become an independent state and not a vassal of the U.S.  federal government.  Impossible?  Perhaps.  But only because the US constitution is real: the European Union’s constitution-cum-treaty lacks that one essential characteristic. 

The Stab That Failed
The congressional Democrats' surge-against-the-surge -- a case study in political futility.
By Noemie Emery, The Weekly Standard, December 3, 2007

"Verdict first, trial afterwards," said the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, unaware of her future as a role model for America's congressional Democrats. 

On Bush Time
By Kathleen Parker, Jewish World Review, November 21, 2007

Radical Islamists have said that Americans have watches, but that true believers have time. To successfully defeat such an enemy, one needs to think as the enemy does, to see time from the perspective of real stars rather than rising political ones. That's a tough concept for a drive-thru nation accustomed to insta-everything and gratification at the tap of a button. Five years at war in Iraq is an eternity for impatient Americans, but it's a blink of a camel's eye if you're set on destroying the Great Satan. Bush has learned to watch the camel.

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