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True North Archives - December 15, 2009
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Featured Articles

Hunger and the Free Market
By Robert Maynard

Given that New Hampshire is doing a better job of caring for its poor with a more sustainable free market oriented model, it is long past time we stopped making excuses and changed directions.

The Collapse of the "Global Warming" Scam
By John McClaughry

For 20 years the global warming alarmists have prophesied planetary doom unless we create supranational controls, subsidies, taxes, and rationing of energy consumption. Now, as many skeptics have long expected, the ClimateGate revelations  expose this as the global scam of the century.

Ed & Fed: an Empirical Evaluation
By Martin Harris

Of all the not-even-mentioned-in-the-Constitution governance empires in the US today, two are of particular interest to your scribe. One is public education, particularly in Vermont, where the K-12 establishment has managed over the last generation to create once-unimaginable costs while producing no significant student achievement gains; the other is the Federal Reserve system, which has managed during its 95-year life-span since 1913 to evaporate 95% of the purchasing power of the dollar.

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"Such People generally have less Merit than Ambition, that Covet the Reward of other Men’s; and to be sure a very ill Nature, that will rather Rob others of their Due, than allow them their Praise." --William Penn
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The Gray Mountain State
By Mark Steyn, National Review, December 8, 2009

If schoolkids are thin on the ground, the state’s total population has held steady — 604,000 in 1999, 621,000 today. So Vermont is getting proportionately more childless. Which is to say that Vermont, literally, has no future....

To modify Howard Dean, Vermont is the way liberals think America ought to be, and you can’t make a living in it. So if you’re a cash-poor but land-rich native Vermonter taxed and regulated and hedged in on every front, you face a choice: In the new North Country folk wisdom, they won’t let you fish, so you might as well cut bait. Your outhouse is in breach of zoning regulations, so you might as well get off the pot. Etc. When he ran for president, Howard Dean was said to have inspired America’s youth. In Vermont, he mainly inspired them to move somewhere else. The number of young adults fell by 20 percent during the Dean years. And what’s left is a demographic disaster: The state’s women have the second lowest birthrate in the nation, and the state’s workforce is already America’s oldest. Last year, Chris Lafakis of Moody’s predicted Vermont would have "a really stagnant economy" not this year or this half-decade but for the next 30 years.

The VSEA Blink
Caledonia Record Editorial, December 11, 2009

We've got good news and bad news. For two years, now, the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) and Gov. Jim Douglas have been in a standoff on the issue of the VSEA either taking a cut in pay or suffering a major layoff of VSEA members. The VSEA finally blinked; Governor Douglas didn't. ...

It's too bad that it takes a financial avalanche thundering down the mountain to convince the special interests that it is time for some sacrifice. The teachers' union should take note.

More Bad Budget News
From Vermont Tiger, December 11, 2009

Now we have more complete data from the JFO that shows the detail.  The state's expenditures will exceed revenues by  $141-$161 million in FY11.  If the deficit is closed by using permanent spending cuts or tax increases, that will bring FY12's deficit down to a "manageable" $99 million.

If the state uses gimmicks or one-time solutions, the deficit in FY12 will grow to about $250 million and be somewhere around $220 million FY13 and FY14.   And none of this includes tens of millions of dollars needed to shore up the state employee and teacher retirement health care funds or the multi-hundred million dollar hole in the unemployment insurance trust fund.

Costly, Long Cleanup for Lake Champlain
From WCAX-TV, December 8, 2009

It could cost up to $800 million and take 15 years to clean up Lake Champlain.

Backbone Anyone?
Caledonia Record Editorial, December 12, 2009

There is no genteel way to put it. A worrisome number of school administrators and boards are hiding behind the legally ambiguous cloak of secrecy. Their back-bonelessness applies equally to the revolving door phenomenon of administrators within our area schools. The shamelessness goes beyond cowardice and bad management. It borders on the criminal. To cover their own fannies, they may be putting our kids at serious risk.

Political Emissions
Politics by Emerson Lynn
From Vermont Tiger, December 9, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency Monday said greenhouse gases are a danger to the public’s health, next week more than 100 world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to gather commitments to limit these emissions, and in Vermont all five of the Democrats running for governor are inclined to work in the opposite direction by shutting down Vermont Yankee.

If, as the EPA suggests, regulations need to be put into place to curb greenhouse gases, and if these same emissions – on a global scale – are bringing the planet to the point of ruin, why would Doug Racine, Peter Shumlin, Matt Dunne, Deb Markowitz and Susan Bartlett want to shut down a plant with almost no emissions that supplies the state a third of its power?

Grand Isle School Choice on Menu
By Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, December 14, 2009

Grand Isle residents are invited to a public meeting tonight to weigh a proposal that would make Colchester High School the designated school for the district and could dramatically contract the school choice arrangement the town has had in place for decades.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Building Peace Without Obama’s Interference
A promising, independent Palestine is quietly being developed, with Israeli assistance.
By Tom Gross, National Review, December 6, 2009

Nablus stock exchange head Ahmad Aweidah went farther in explaining to me why there is no rush to declare statehood, saying ordinary Palestinians need the IDF to help protect them from Hamas, as their own security forces aren’t ready to do so by themselves yet.

The truth is that an independent Palestine is now quietly being built, with Israeli assistance. So long as the Obama administration and European politicians don’t clumsily meddle as they have in the past and make demands for the process to be completed more quickly than it can be, I am confident the outcome will be a positive one. (The last time an American president — Bill Clinton in 2000 — tried to hurry things along unrealistically, it merely resulted in blowing up in everybody’s faces — literally — and set back hopes for peace by some years.)

Taliban's Counter Strategy is Based on Declared U.S. Strategy
By Dr. Walid Phares, American Thinker, December 8, 2009

The U.S. has reconfirmed that the goal of the mission in Afghanistan is to destroy al Qaeda, train the Afghan armed forces but not to engage in nation-building. Unlike previous American commitments, which weren’t very successful anyway, the current strategy officially ignores the ideological battle.

Hence, the Taliban understands that their lifeline to further recruitment based on madrassas graduations is wide open. Washington’s efforts and dollars won’t touch the ideological factory of jihadism, which is the strategic depth of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Hence, the jihadi network in Afghanistan will continue and further develop its indoctrination structures, untouched and un-bothered by American military escalation. The Marines and other NATO allies will be fighting today’s Taliban, while tomorrow’s jihadists will be receiving their instruction in full tranquility.

By the time the U.S. deadline to withdraw would be reached, in 2011, 2012, or even beyond, the future forces of the enemy will be ready to be deployed. One wave of terrorists will be weakened by the action of the U.S. and NATO armed forces, while the next wave will be prepared to take over later.

Breaking News: Pakistan Reportedly Detains Five D.C.-Area Muslims on Suspicion of Terror
From the Investigative Project on Terrorism, December 8 2009

A Pakistani newspaper reports the arrest of five foreign nationals after a raid in a town called Sargodha. The raid took place at the home of a member of the Jaish-e-Muhammad, a Pakistani movement designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2001.

According to the report, "The DPO told that these people had been living in Sargodha since Nov 30 and it was quite a possibility that they were engaged in acts of terrorism." It names the five as Ahmed Abdullah, Waqar Hassan Khan, Eman Hassan, Yasir and Rami Zamzam and describes them as two Yemenis, an Egyptian, a Swede and a U.S.-born Pakistani.

The Muslim Brotherhood: Islam, Anti-Semitism and Totalitarianism (Part One of Four)
By Adrian Morgan, Family Security Matters, December 9, 2009

On November 29, 2009, news broke that Switzerland's controversial referendum on banning minarets had been passed. Against all the expectations of psephologists, 57 percent of the vote had gone to changing the Swiss constitution to ban further construction of minarets. Only four minarets exist in the country, which has a population of more than 300,000 Muslims. This news was roundly condemned within Europe and beyond. The charge of racism was brought, and indeed, some of the posters used by the Swiss People's Party (SVP) were decidedly xenophobic. This party had started the campaign against minarets. They had been gathering names to a petition for three years. Under Swiss law, when a petition gains 100,000 names, a national referendum can be called. ...

While taking part in online discussions about the Swiss ban, I wanted to look behind the headlines to see what additional factors may have engendered such resentments against Islamic expression in Switzerland.

PC-Free Thoughts on the Muslim Response to Fort Hood
By David J. Rusin, Islamist Watch,  December 8, 2009

Having discussed the inept reaction of government to the massacre carried out by Islamicradical Nidal Malik Hasan, we now compile insightful commentary on the response of American Muslims and those who claim to represent them:

Sheikh Obama and His Two Wars
By Daniel Pipes, December 10, 2009

"Religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam." Here, Obama follows his predecessor in presenting himself as an interpreter of Islam. I ridiculed "Imam Bush" for telling Muslims about true Islam and its distortion, and now I must ridicule "Sheikh Obama" for the same. He's a politician, not a theologian. He's now a Christian, not a Muslim. He should steer completely clear from the topic of who are good or bad Muslims.

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From Elsewhere

Why Leaderless Tea Parties Are Beating the GOP
By Richard Viguerie, American Thinker, December 10 2009

Rasmussen reports that the Tea Party Movement, which percolated only months ago, is beating the Grand Old Party.

That's amazing -- a nascent grassroots movement is more popular than a long-established political party -- and it's good news....

The Tea Party Movement, however, is about more than electing new politicians, although that will be one of its consequences. What's happening in the tea parties is that people are actually using the Constitution to ground and form policy choices, and as a constructive means to hold the political establishment accountable.

MTV’s Wack Morality
By Anthony B. Bradley Ph.D., Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, December 9, 2009

On Dec. 3, MTV announced the launch of "A Thin Line," a multi-year initiative aimed at stopping the spread of abuse through sexting, cyberbullying and digital dating. MTV says that the goal of the initiative is to empower America's youth to identify, respond to and block the spread of the various forms of digital harassment. While MTV’s program deserves an honorable mention, the network misses the mark by ignoring its complicity in glorifying mores associated with sexting, bullying, and dating abuse, failing to promote the family, and failing to enlist religious leaders.

76% Prefer Free Market Economy
From Rasmussen Reports, December 8, 2009

Support for a free market economy remains strong despite the extended recession and last fall’s Wall Street meltdown. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 76% of voters now say a free market economy is better than one managed by the government. Only 10% prefer an economy managed by the government.

Social Security's Grim Milestone: Half a Year in the Red
By Chuck Blahous, Hudson Institute, December 7, 2009

Data recently made public by the Social Security Administration confirm that in October, 2009, the program reached a grim milestone:  six consecutive months of operating cash deficits.  This is the first time Social Security has faced this situation over the entire time period, dating back through 1987, for which SSA posts the monthly data online.

Obama Pulls End Run
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declare carbon a toxic pollutant
By Klaus Rohrich, Canada Free Press, December 8, 2009

As I wrote here yesterday, I believe the feeding frenzy currently taking place at the Copenhagen trough will result in the ultimate global governance of every man woman and child on the planet.  A climate treaty may not actually be signed and agreed upon by the 192 countries whose representatives are currently living LARGE on caviar and limousines at the conference, but the rules such a treaty might impose will still take effect.

The main reason to believe this will happen is that President Barack Obama has pulled an end run around the American people and the legislators they have elected by having the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declare carbon a toxic pollutant, despite the fact that all life on the planet is basically carbon-based.  But fascists can never be swayed by facts and Obama has shown that when it comes to imposing his draconian agenda he isn’t particularly squeamish about violating the principles of the Constitution or the rights of the people.

The Real Fat Cat Party
By Jonah Goldberg Town Hall, December 9, 2009

The notion that big business is "right wing" has always been more sloppy agitprop than serious analysis. It's true that historically, big business is against socialism and communism -- and understandably so. Socialism and communism were once close to synonymous with expropriation of wealth and the nationalization of industry. What businessman or industrialist wouldn't be against that? But many of those same industrialists saw nothing wrong with cutting deals with statist regimes. For example, the Swope Plan, put forward by Gerard Swope, president of General Electric, laid out the infrastructure for much of the early New Deal.

Yet the debate is always framed as if the choice is between "government intervention" on the one hand and free-market capitalism on the other. From 30,000 feet, that division is fine with me. My objection is the glib and easy association of big business with the free-market guys. (Milton Friedman was no champion of public-private partnerships and industrial policy.)

This identification allows self-described progressive Democrats to run against big business when they are in fact in bed with the fat cats.

Revenge of the Computer Nerds
By Larrey Anderson, American Thinker, December 9, 2009

It is fascinating to watch the mainstream media in America duck (and/or make excuses for) the greatest scam in modern history: the "science" behind man-made global warming. Even more entertaining, and far more enlightening, is to follow the analyses by the experts in computer programming of the recently disclosed methods used by the Climate Research Unit (CRU) from the University of East Anglia.

Most commentators in the media have been talking about the "REM" statements in the purloined e-mails and computer codes from the CRU [i]. True believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW), especially those in the mainstream and "scientific" media, are pooh-poohing such words as "tricks" or "hide the decline" as interoffice slang that had no real impact on how the science was conducted.

But the real action (and the evidence for chicanery) is in the computer code obtained from the CRU. Our own computer guru Marc Sheppard, writing for American Thinker here and here, was one of the first to offer an accurate diagnosis of this fraudulent method of computer programming. Analyzing the code, as Marc has indicated in his work, is a complex business. As he pleads in one article, "please bear with me while I get a tad techie on you."

McCain's 'Sarcasm and Anger' Toward a President Is Once Again a Bad Thing
By Clay Waters, Times Watch, December 14, 2009

Those traits have always been part of McCain's personality -- it's just that the Times' emphasis on them seems to ebb and flow based on whether McCain's temper is trained on his fellow Republicans or Democrats.

Related: NY Times Laments Media the Wall Street Journal

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