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True North Archives - December 04, 2007
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Homegrown Terrorism: Freedom Under Fire II
By Robert Maynard

In short, we are losing the battle of ideas to the jihadists because we have lost sight of the power of the ideas which gave birth to western civilization. These ideas once inspired a world wide movement to end slavery and the replacement of the rule of a single Caliphate with a Republic ruled by a parliament. Just when a near total ideological victory was in sight, the cultural elite in the west lost confidence in the principles that were once so proudly promoted. That lack of confidence in such principles gave way to contempt and finally to outright hostility. 

The result of losing the war of ideas within western civilization is that young western educated Muslims become the vanguard of a movement dedicated to the destruction of western civilization. In a cultural environment that is seeped in the notion of moral relativism and sees no inherent value in its own cultural traditions, how are we to hold off an ideological assault on those values?

The report mentioned above by the New York City Police Department on homegrown terrorism mentions a phase in the radicalization process that it refers to as "Pre-Radicalization". The report claims that there are no signs which would signal that the person in question was about to engage in a process that would end up with him becoming a jihadist. I would like to suggest that the key to the Pre-Radicalization part of the process is the ideological confusion we are experiencing as a civilization over our own value system. A regain of confidence in and a defense of, those values is another crucial factor in confronting the problem of jihadism.

No More State Mental Institutions!
By John McClaughry 

"Building an enormously expensive new replacement facility for the Vermont State Hospital, at the urging of a state bureaucracy and its state employee union allies, over the objections of the Public Oversight Commission and most advocates for the mentally ill, will create a large and unnecessary burden for a generation of Vermont taxpayers, while offering inadequate recovery services for Vermonters with mental illness. It is not sound public policy." --That's the conclusion of a new report on the future of the Vermont State Hospital and the treatment of severe mental illness in Vermont, issued by the Ethan Allen Institute on November 26.

Transgressions of the politically correct glossed over with puppet show
By James Ehlers

More than environmental issues have been exposed as a result of the Interval Compost Products saga, unfortunately. Yes, Republicans live to embarrass Democrats, and Democrats make a living exploiting Republicans. Big deal. This is news? Yet, pathetically, this is the focus of two leading editorial pages. What Roper and Symington do to each other has about as much impact on us as what Britney Spears wears or, more aptly, does not wear when she paints the town.

We should be able to rely on our daily newspapers to address the ingredients of the paint, rather than the presence of panties. Can we expect at least this much? Or does it depend on party affiliation? I am certain the consequences of politically correct pollution and flood plain development are no less dependent on the polluter’s party registration, much less their choice of pants. Give us the real news, journalists, not the puppet show.

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1) "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." --Hillary Clinton 6/29/2004

2) "It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few...and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity." --Hillary Clinton 5/29/2007

3) "(We)...can't just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people." --Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

4) "We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their order to create this common ground." --Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

5) "I certainly think the free-market has failed." --Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007

6) "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched." --Hillary Clinton 9/2/2005

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The Governor's Bill Of Goods, November 28, 2007

The Governor, writing in full Montpelier idiom, declares:

Green Mountain Care is an all-inclusive family of low-cost and free health coverage programs that provide uninsured Vermonters with access to quality, comprehensive health care coverage at a reasonable cost. These programs give uninsured Vermonters access to the medical care they need, including doctor visits, hospital and emergency care, checkups, prescription medicines, chronic disease care, immunizations, mental health care and more.

One would like to ask the resident of Middlebury, who probably knows a hawk from a handsaw, a question about that one:

Low-cost to whom?

Not, certainly, to the people who are actually paying for all these benefits.  (And, by the way, what about that "and more?"  What's left?  Massages and facials?)

Trying To Have It Both Ways - for the sake of the "community good"
Caledonian Record Editorial, Saturday, 12/1

Vermont for years and years has gotten away with taxing land at its highest value then throwing up innumerable obstacles whenever the property owner attempts to develop the property and receive its appraised value.

The only way to escape the state's relentless tax machine is to sell the development rights to a conservation group, depriving the community of both property taxes and potential development, or put the land into current use. Lately, it's not difficult for retirees with substantial wealth to come to Vermont, build a McMansion, create privacy for themselves by surrounding the new mansion with 200 acres of land, then promptly put everything into current use with the pretext of a forestry plan. Once again, towns lose taxes and developable land.

The Edge Of Rights
Caledonian Record Editorial, Monday, November 26, 2007

In gentler, more reasonable times, the unchallenged and unchallengeable morally self evident proposition was that one person's rights end where another person's begin. Since that time, though, civil rights activists have pushed the definition of individual civil rights not only up to, but way across the line of the absurd. A current case in point is whether or not regional hospitals, which have been proposed to be hostels for acutely psychotic patients who, until now, have been housed at Waterbury State Hospital, may administer anti-psychotic drugs to violent patients without their permission.

Wind Blowback, November 27, 2007

‘Wood Lot’, an anonymous blogger for Vermont Scrap Wood, endeavors to discredit my position on industrial wind technology (Industrial Wind: A Bill of Goods).  Wood Lot argues that, since the Audubon Society favors wind technology, my evidence counts for little or nothing. It is just this kind of ex cathedra prejudice that is giving environmentalism its increasingly deserved reputation for pretentious twitter. The wishful thinking of Audubon and the Sierra Club does not make the case for wind energy. Where is the responsible—or even logical—ethic in dynamiting, clear cutting and fragmenting scores of miles of some of the rarest, most picturesque mountain habitat in Vermont to install 200 sky-scraper sized wind turbines to produce less than 100MW of sporadic energy in a state that generates virtually no CO2 to obtain electricity- with no assurance these wind projects will abate carbon emissions and with certainty they will not supplant any conventional generation, including nuclear?

In The Camp Of The Luddites, November 26, 2007

Too often, Republicans will blindly defend anything that they consider supportive of American values, while remaining oblivious to America’s defects and flaws. But Democrats (especially in Vermont) seem just as blind in their criticisms of America’s free enterprise system, which they fail to see as the generator of America’s material benefits and prosperity and see only as a producer of "negative externalities." Part of the reason for this is that the Democratic Party -- and the environmental movement in general -- have been taken over by more radical activists who seem to be inspired by the anti-technology Luddite movement of the early 19th century. To these environmental progressives, the West's progress, scientific advances and technological innovations have created more problems than they've solved.

Pushing The Brand, November 27, 2007

The most fascinating aspect of the Douglas report is that it has thus far only been assessed on its merits – i.e. do carbon credits work or will UVM be effective in the endeavor.  But, if the plan is based on the marketing strategy of authenticity, it doesn’t much matter if carbon credits work or if we really are the best in the field. Only perceptions matter and they only matter to the extent that we can capitalize on them.

What’s not to love about this plan? The environmentalists at UVM will get paid to study anything they like so long as it contributes to the perception of climate change expertise. And, the business community will be able to capitalize on the perception of authenticity, real or otherwise, without guilt because for one brief moment the objectives of environmentalist and entrepreneurs will have converged.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Bin Laden and Future Jihad in Europe
Dr. Walid Phares,The New Media Journal, December 1, 2007

Global Jihad in Europe has begun. Al Qaeda wants to claim it, own it and boast about its coming spread. That’s what is on Bin Laden’s mind. As a classic leader of Jihadism, he wants to warn beforehand that what is to come in Europe is "because" of its alliance with the US and its military presence in Afghanistan, an "occupied Muslim land." In reality, the dice has already rolled: the Jihadists have already waged their campaign on that continent but the al Qaeda master wants to father it and widen it.

Begin the Debate: Nine-Point Guide to Discern Islamist from Non-Islamist Schools
By M. Zuhdi Jasser, Family Security Matters, November 26, 2007

America’s public attention to the curricula and texts of Islamic parochial schools should not only be limited to this single foreign school on our soil, but also more comprehensively to the curricula of all Islamic schools in the United States. This is not about profiling much as Islamists may try to say in their protestations to this debate. But rather it is about understanding the penetration of an ideology which consciously and subconsciously teaches the superiority of a political system of governance at odds with the American political and justice system. This is also centrally relevant in the conflict against militant Islamism. At odds with the American way of life is not only the more obvious militant ‘jihadist’ fringe component of political Islam but also the less obvious, more pervasive and more insidiously dangerous movement of political Islam as a way of life. 

For the Islamic educational institutions in America founded only with the purpose of teaching our Muslim children the love of God, righteousness, Islamic theology, pluralism, humanitarianism, character, humility, charity, and other personal religious principles as it applies to God, I see no threat to our freedom in the U.S. However, the more relevant questions are how these institutions of Islamic education handle topics of American government and law. As an anti-Islamist Muslim, I am waiting anxiously to hear a public debate about what is taught in their U.S. history and government classes as compared to the Islamic jurisprudence classes of these "Islamic" schools. The schools around the country are all relatively new and wasting no time in creating a generation of students which are more likely than not to be defenders of Islamism over anti-Islamist systems based in universal liberty. While only a minority of Muslims send their children to these schools, they are a growing and significant minority countered only by a silent majority of Muslims.

Sistani tells Shiites to protect Sunni brothers
Kuwait News Agency, November 28, 2007

Leading Shiite cleric in Iraq Ali Sistani Tuesday banned the killing of Iraqis, particularly the Sunnis, and urged the Shiites to protect their brother Sunnis. Sistani bans the Iraqi blood in general the blood of Sunnis in particular. His announcement came during a meeting with a delegation from Sunni clerics from southern and northern Iraq. The clerics are visiting Najaf to participate in the first national conference for Ulemaa of Shiites and Sunnis.

Muslims in jailed teacher protest
The UK Guardian, December 1, 2007

Leaders of the protest said they wanted to show that British Muslims supported Mrs Gibbons. Some arrived with their own teddy bears. The protest followed angry scenes in Khartoum on Friday in which knife-wielding fundamentalists called for the execution of Mrs Gibbons.

Iran's Strategy and Application of Force
By Brett McCrea, The American Thinker, November 29, 2007

While the Bush Administration clearly asserts that a nuclear armed Iran is not in the national security interests of the United States, the fractious political environment in Washington is blunting the effectiveness of that message. Iran sees a hesitant adversary, while the American public remains misinformed of the true situation in the Middle East. At this juncture, the U.S. should not be asking its leaders what would you do. It should be demanding what are you going to do. Iran has systematically murdered hundreds of US soldiers and citizens. It has repeatedly threatened one of our staunchest allies, Israel, with annihilation.  Allowing a country with this disposition to obtain the crown jewel of destructive weapons would be an unmitigated disaster. 

Colombia captures terrorist documents
Thomas Lifson, The American Thinker, December 01, 2007

The FARC narco-terrorists operating in Colombia were dealt a blow by government forces, which raided one of their camps and captured documents and videotapes offering "proof of life" for 16 hostages being held in the deep jungle lair. As we reported earlier, based on the excellent work of Investor's Business Daily which has been covering the case and related matters, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela had been operating as an intermediary in negotiations with FARC, only to be fired by Colombia's President Uribe.

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From Elsewhere

United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali Hijacked by European Liberals
Predetermined outcome is political agenda of European Green Party
By Tom Swiss, The Heartland Institute, November 30, 2007

As the first goals of the Kyoto Protocol are about to expire, the United Nations is preparing a "Conference of the Parties," the highest decision-making authority. The meeting will take place in Bali, Indonesia from December 3 to December 5. Instead of "negotiations" and "debate," which the United Nations claims is the decision-making process, European liberal groups have hijacked the conference and are pushing a pre-determined outcome called the "Bali Mandate" of "effectively reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared to the 1990 level." 

A Quiet Defeat for Political Correctness
By Charles J. Sykes, The American Thinker

Maybe this is how political correctness ends; not with a bang, but with a whimper. Across the country, universities that had abandoned in loco parentis in the 1960s because it was too oppressive and intrusive have replaced it with in loco Big Brother programs of political and cultural re-education.

American Decadence—Part 4 of 4
The Characteristics of an Uncivilized People
by Reginald Firehammer, The Autonomist

There is about civilized societies something akin to maturity in individuals. The highpoint of Western civilization was the nineteenth century, with a brief return during the late 40s and 50s of the twentieth century. Those times were marked not only by the highest levels of civilized goodwill between men but were societies dominated by mature people that took life seriously, because they understood what kind of life is worth living, and that such a life cannot be enjoyed without recognizing what is important and what is not. Such men were unwilling to settle for anything but the best in themselves, in their achievements, or that which they enjoyed in life. Such men could never contemplate sex with a child. There are always perverts in the world, but a society comprised of mostly mature adults will not be obsessed with sex with children. In a 1944 letter concerning a novel proposed by her correspondent, Ayn Rand wrote:

"... the idea that man is a slave to sex and to nature, that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the mind and the sex urge—is a perfect description of the mental state of an adolescent. Not of a mature man." [If he is an adult with such views] "... in the matter of sex he is still a youth. It is the normal mental state of very many adolescents when they discover sex. Not of all, but of many." "That typically adolescent feeling comes, I think, only from physical impatience—a strong physical desire that drives the man ..." "in the middle of the process of growing up. ... Such a man would grow up. This would not be his final attitude on sex." "... he will outgrow it. He has to."

The GOP Race: No One’s Winning, No One’s Losing, and No One’s Made Up His Mind
By Byron York, National Review, November 28, 2007

Back in August, when callers working for Clemson University’s Palmetto Poll got in touch with South Carolina voters about the Republican primary, the responses they got were pretty relaxed. "They’d say, ‘Oh, I like McCain,’ or ‘I like Rudy,’ but it was kind of casual," says David Woodard, the Clemson political science professor who directs the poll. Now, that has changed. The election is within sight — South Carolina Republicans will go to the polls January 19 — and people are being more careful with their answers. Fewer respondents are saying who they support, and the number of voters classified as undecided is climbing as the campaign goes on. "More and more people are taking their responsibility to vote seriously," Woodard explains. "There’s less willingness to commit."

The Looking-Glass War in Iraq
For the war, then against it, and now for it?
By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, November 30, 2007

Because we had already defeated Saddam in 1991, and since pundits had proclaimed that a secular Iraq would be more malleable to reconstruction than a primordial Afghanistan of warlords, Democrats signed on for another war that might prove even easier to wage and quicker to win. Support for an easy victory in Iraq would only further confirm their reputation of being tough on national security in a post-9/11 world. When — in the manner of Sen. Clinton — they warned that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was connected to al-Qaeda, they were only reiterating the standard Bill Clinton line throughout much of the 1990s. Indeed, most Democrats saw George Bush’s post-9/11 focus on the dangers of Baathist Iraq as simply the natural escalation from Clinton’s own policy of occasional bombings, embargos, and no-fly zones.

But as the post-Saddam elections lined up — 2004, 2006, 2008 — and the reconstruction of Iraq proved bloodier than anticipated, the politics changed. The Democrats became the antiwar party. Prominent pro-war pundits flipped and cursed the effort. Journalistic exposés were published in serial fashion. Michael Moore reigned supreme. And disillusioned former administration officials and generals wrote supposedly brilliant opeds about how the war was lost, and how and why Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz — fill in the blanks — had not listened to their own inspired advice about reconstruction. It was time to pile on. Almost all Democrats did.

Same Ole Bill
New York Post Editorial, November 29, 2007

Bill Clinton has always been a stranger to the truth, but is it possible that he's never heard of Google? Apparently. How else to explain his ridiculous claim - while campaigning for Hillary out in Iowa - that he "opposed [the] Iraq [war] from the beginning"? ...Indeed, the former president boasted in a June 2004 interview with Time magazine: "I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq." For the record, then, here's what Clinton really had to say about the Iraq war....

The Democrats' Fatal Flaw
By Robert J. Caldwell, San Diego Union-Tribune, December 2, 2007

Joe Klein, a politically astute columnist notably hard on George Bush, writes this in the Dec. 3 issue of Time magazine: "If the Democrats want to win in 2008, they can't be mealymouthed on issues of national security." Klein then proceeds to cite two matters, Iraq war funding and surveillance of terrorist communications, about which Democrats have been "foolishly partisan."

Related: The Tone-Deaf Democrats

A Failed Congress
By The Editors, National Review Online, December 3, 2007

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid return to work this week. But the Congress they lead is already a failure, no matter what they now do. When they took power, they had three major goals: to end the war in Iraq, cripple this presidency, and pave the way for a Democratic sweep next year. They have failed in all three respects.

Politicized Science and the IPCC
By Bob Myer, The American Thinker, November, 2007

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the IPCC has delivered another warning of impending doom.  This time, it has to do with the world's oceans' ability to absorb carbon dioxide.  While I am not qualified to get into the science of this, I think it is instructive to dissect how the message is being delivered to the masses.  For this, I'll use the Drudge-linked article from The Independent, a newspaper from the UK. As might be expected with any article, the headline attempts to grab the reader's attention.  In this case the headline reads, "A world dying, but can we unite to save it?"  The "we" does not mean to imply that all the people of the UK should unite.  This is a global vision; the "we" is global.  The mission is messianic -- save the world -- which is all fine and good as long as the reader, or the believer, truly understands the intent of such an outlook.

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