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True North Archives - December 18, 2007
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Featured Articles

Malignant, and Myopic Narcissism
by John Gilligan

Veterans Day 07 in Central Vermont will be one of great pride for me as a veteran, other veterans and Americans. It was also an occasion of great sadness and disgust with other entities who chose to demean it.

The long holiday began on Friday with a Medals Ceremony at the Statehouse where Governor Douglas, Lt. Governor Dubie, Adj. General Dubie, State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding and several members of the legislature were present. Over 60 Vermont Veterans and their families were there for the award of the VT Veterans and the VT Distinguished Service medals to them or deceased loved ones. It was a proud day for me to accept them for my deceased brother Mike and myself. Republican Representative Valliere worked hard to get a good turnout of Barre area Vets to be there and was complimented by Governor Douglas for his efforts.

But also a shame that no one from the Liberal left Television or Print Media could be bothered to cover the story. Needless to say I saw no story in the Times Argus the following day.

Then on 11 November, the most sacred of days, the good citizens of Barre were subjected to the antics of the Hate America First Crowd at the Aldrich Library. They had gathered to castigate one of their anti-war heroes for stepping out of line after winning their support in the last election. They put on a performance that only kindergarten teacher at a school riot could love. Also present was the Argus and TV media. Despite the Argus' attempt to spin and ameliorate the debacle; i.e., their first report had the mob numbered at about 70. Susan Allen jacked it to about 100 in a follow-up piece but both stories failed to note that most in the mob were not from Barre.

A Too-Timid Education Reform
By John McClaughry

What Vermont really needs is a completely different K-12 educational model. That model would give all pupils the means to choose what best meets their needs and interests from a diverse range of educational offerings: public schools, independent schools, faith-based schools, charter schools, virtual schools, mentoring, home schooling, and other forms not yet even imagined.

Then there would no longer be an overgrown  "public education system", any more than there is a "food system" or a "clothing system".  Parents and students would have more educational choices and more little schools, but most of those schools, like today's faith-based schools, would be less expensive than today's state-controlled, over-regulated, 
over-bureaucratized, over-certified, over-unionized public school system.

The schools would be run by their own boards and principals. Superintendents would exist only to advise and assist all of these schools, and cope with indispensable special education requirements. Athletics, music and drama programs would become joint community efforts, like technical centers, no longer tied to individual schools.

Leaning (Ivory) Tower of Pisa
By Martin Harris

News that American industrial productivity rose 6.3 percent in the just-finished 3rd quarter contrasts fairly vividly with news that American school-kids are now posting even worse results, compared to their international competition, than they were in earlier years. Typically, US students score worse than global averages in science and math, the latest PISA tests show. ...

Historically, the American taxpayer has been remarkably forgiving of low productivity in the governmental enterprises it pays for, but there are signs that, at least for education if not for less visible programs like USDA tea-testing, public patience is declining. Some indicators show up in what, in the private sector, would be called market penetration. Public education is losing customers at an increasing rate, and more would take their kids out if they weren’t forced, at legal bayonet-point, to pay for it regardless of actual service use. A recent poll by the St. Johnsbury Caledonian-Record finds that 26 percent of its Vermont and New Hampshire respondents are in favor of parents paying their own kids’ costs and, therefore, not being taxed for the costs generated by others. That public sentiment is a pretty sharp rebuke to the "free" public education system set up by Horace Mann a century-and-a-half ago, which experienced no such challenge to its credibility until the recent declines in productivity became so apparent.

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Quotables

In this issue – Environmental Extremists exposed

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

"A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation." -- Paul Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, "Population, Resources, Environment" (W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1970, 323)

"If you ask me, it'd be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won't give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other." -- Amory Lovins, The Mother Earth - Plowboy Interview, Nov/Dec 1977, p. 22

"Giving society cheap, abundant energy ... would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun." -- Paul Ehrlich, "An Ecologist's Perspective on Nuclear Power", May/June 1978 issue of Federation of American Scientists Public Issue Report

"We can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the same industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are." -- Michael Oppenheimer. Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University. He joined the Princeton faculty after more than two decades with Environmental Defense, is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), serving most recently as a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.

"We've already had too much economic growth in the US. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure." -- Ehrlich again.

"The planet is about to break out with fever, indeed it may already have, and we [human beings] are the disease. We should be at war with ourselves and our lifestyles." -- Thomas Lovejoy, assistant secretary to the Smithsonian Institution.

"The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest of the natural world." -- John Shuttleworth, FoE manual writer.

"People are the cause of all the problems; we have too many of them; we need to get rid of some of them, and this (ban of DDT) is as good a way as any." Charles Wurster, Environmental Defense Fund.

"We can and should seize upon the energy crisis as a good excuse and great opportunity for making some very fundamental changes that we should be making anyhow for other reasons." -- Russell Train (EPA Administrator at the time, and soon thereafter became head of the World Wildlife Fund), Science 184 p. 1050, 7 June 1974

The world has a cancer, and that cancer is man. -- Alan Gregg, former longtime official of the Rockerfeller Foundation

Man is always and everywhere a blight on the landscape. -- John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club

Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.-- Dave Forman, Earth First! and Sierra Club director (1995-1997)

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs. -- John Davis, editor of Earth First! journal

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

The Fix Is In
From VermontTiger.com, December 14, 2007

Here's an eyewitness account of what's going on in Bali at the Climate Change Summit. 

"A common theme was that the "solutions" to climate change that are being posed by many governments, such as  nuclear power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and biofuels are false and are not rooted in justice. Another point was that as this current ecomonic system got us here in the first place, a climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources."

Maybe this is why there's so much opposition to Gov. Douglas's plan - because it only addresses the issue of climate change not the real problem the left wants to fix. Seeing the true intent of those behind the climate change industry answers a lot of questions. For example,  it explains why the people demanding we reduce CO2 are the same people demanding we cripple Yankee (which is low CO2) with new taxes that go directly to the underprivileged renewables; even though the renewables have a larger environmental footprint than nukes. Redistribution plain and simple. 

Bumpy road ahead for state budget
Economists predict slowing revenues 
By Louis Porter, Vermont Press Bureau, Times Argus, December 16, 2007

That's because the state, which has become hooked on healthy revenue increases, is looking at a 2.4 percent increase in fiscal year 2009, a third less than the 3.6 percent increase the state saw in 2007. And given the worsening housing market, a weakening economy and higher fuel prices – all factors that will drive up demand for state services – the revenue forecast will likely force lawmakers to face a grim reality: There may not be enough money to go around.

After base spending, contractual increases in pay, rising gasoline and benefits costs and apparently unavoidable increases like Medicaid are factored in, the heads of the four "money" committees will have very little wiggle room, let alone additional money for new programs.

VPIRG Looks In All The Wrong Places
Caledonian Record Editorial, December 14, 2007

Here they go again. Last year, James Moore and his organization, VPIRG, joined Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin in an effort to stick it to Entergy, the owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Although the state of Vermont has twice committed to tax agreements with Entergy and had promised the plant owners they wouldn't come back for more, Senator Shumlin came back for more when he ran out of new ways to tax Vermonters to pay for his proposed energy efficiency utility. Fortunately, Gov. Jim Douglas said a deal's a deal and rejected the tax boost for Vermont's most valuable energy provider.

This week, Moore and his organization rolled out a new "study" and its clear VPIRG determined the outcome of the study in advance then worked backwards to make sure the study would justify their conclusion. The conclusion is the same old one; that Entergy deserves to be punished for its success at generating, clean, safe, reliable power over 90 percent of the time, with and without a prevailing wind or even sunshine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in all the seasons of the year. According to VPIRG, that means Vermont should renege on its contracts with the Vernon plant and jump Yankee's taxes to pay for the Legislature's latest green energy schemes.

The Numbers Make The Case
Caledonian Record Editorial, December 13, 2007

Gov. Jim Douglas announced a few weeks ago that he was directing state government to reduce its work force by 400 positions over the next 18 months. The reductions are to be accomplished essentially through attrition. With the predictability of thunder following lightning, the Democrats in the Legislature have started emitting ominous rumblings that will lead to outright opposition to the cuts. … The reaction of the Democrats was as automatic as Pavlov's dogs. They were so conditioned to come get their food when the bell rang, that they salivated whenever it rang, food or not. The VSEA has trained the Democrats so well to bark when the union bell rings that Douglas' announcement had them all barking, even when his announcement makes eminent sense and the numbers prove it. 

Here are some startling statistics:
  

State # of Employees/100 Citizens US Rank
Vermont 3.00 6th
Maine 2.21 21st
Connecticut 1.96 29th
New Hampshire 1.88 31st
Massachusetts 1.87 32nd
New York 1.35 46th

Vermont has just under 10,000 state employees, yet its population is considerably smaller than any of the other states cited. Do we need that many employees? Good gracious, No! The numbers in other, larger states make it clear that we don't.

Time To Get Serious About Energy
Caledonian Record Editorial, Monday, December 10, 2007

There was some good news this week from ConocoPhillips, a major oil exploration and production company. The company will propose the construction of a new multi-billion dollar pipeline that would transport natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to the lower 48 states and Canada. The company said its willing to make the investment without state matching funds. The corporation estimates the project could cost between $25 billion dollars and $42 billion dollars. ...

The danger is that while politicians such as Vermont's U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., are proudly announcing they've voted to strip incentives away from oil and gas companies while approving huge new subsidies for renewable energy, the U.S. could find itself in a dangerous position where existing real-world energy industries such as oil, natural gas, coal and hydro decline before new sources such as wind and solar replace them. With coal currently providing 50 percent of the electricity in this country and the economy running on oil, like it or not, the better policy would be to include companies like ConocoPhillips at the table and encourage their participation in building a cleaner energy future that is realistic, reliable, attainable and affordable.

A New Tiger Prowls...
From VermontTiger.com, December 10, 2007

Joining the Asian and Celtic Tigers is Israel, according to the Wall Street Journal (probably behind their $firewall).  The country is now in...

"...the third consecutive year of strong growth, up to 5.5% in 2007...The 2,500 or so hi-tech start-ups located in and around Tel Aviv and Haifa give the coast the feel of Silicon Valley, only with a Gaza Strip down the road. Israelis are now investing heavily abroad. Only the U.S. and Canada have more technology companies listed on American exchanges than Israel."
That's from a country with only 6.5 million people, yet it has the third largest number of technology companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. How have they done it? With macroeconomic and central banking reform. Israel's central bank is now run by Stanley Fischer, a former MIT economics professor who was born in Zambia and lived on a kibbutz as a teenager.   A dose of regulatory and fiscal reform didn't hurt, either:

My Turn: Misinformation Taints Act 82
By Glenn Foster, Newport Town School Board, December 12, 2007

Most of the negative talk regarding Act 82 (two-vote requirement for extraordinary school budget increases) has come from those associated with public education: union leadership, school administrators, teachers and school board members. ... It is interesting (if not disappointing) that those associated with educating our children have provided misleading information regarding Act 82.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West
By Lee Harris
Review By Janet Levy, FrontPageMagazine.com, December 13, 2007 

Harris describes the inherent conflict between Western civilization and its emphasis on reason and individualism and Islamic societies that teach intolerance and nurture fanaticism. Western cultures, imbued with a belief in the inevitability of the drive for individual freedom, view as fanatic, those societies which fail to modernize and adopt changed values. Harris posits that the West is disadvantaged in this way because it reacts to the story of change implicit in the history of the Muslim faith and creation of Islamic nation states. However, tribal societies don’t necessarily embrace modernization and abandon their zealotry, upon which their social order is based. Their fanaticism, which includes glorification of martyrdom, thus becomes a weapon that defeats all Western attempts to deal with tribal societies, including negotiation, conventional warfare and punitive economic measures. So, while Islam seeks to destroy the West’s enlightened way of life with the fanaticism of jihad, the West sabotages itself by non-judgmentally viewing these actions as cultural variations or efforts to procure freedom from an imagined oppression. [emphasis added]. Harris further contends that the West’s reliance on reason in the face of fanaticism will destroy Western society.

The Self-Destructing Jihad
Sultan Knish, December 11, 2007

The paradox of the Islamic Jihad being waged against the West, is that it is a Jihad that is itself parasitic on the West. It could not exist without Western money and Western support. Without these it would quickly shrivel up and die.

UK Muslims Warned Against 'Victim Culture'
From The Times Online, December 11, 2007

"Multiculturalism has been manipulated to entrench the right to difference, a divisive concept, at the expense of the right to equal treatment despite difference, a unifying concept. And the fact that cohesion is local, means Labour get it wrong when they go in the other direction too. After years of promoting top-down multiculturalism, Gordon Brown is now promoting top-down unity.""

Why Iran’s Mullahs Must Have the Bomb?
By Amil Imani

Because their very survival depends on it; because they know how vastly unpopular they are at home; and because they have absolutely no legitimacy to exist, and the bomb would give them a greater freedom to obliterate the freedom-loving Iranian people with impunity and export their brand of Islam outside Iran’s boundary with carte blanche. 

Rep. Meeks' Cozy Relationship With Terror-Linked Organization
From Pajamas Media, December 7, 2007 

Why is a powerful congressman trying to pave the way for terror-linked speakers to appear on Capitol Hill? That's the question that comes to mind following the abrupt cancellation of the Muslim Mobilization Conference by the US House of Representatives Sergeant-at-Arms. The event, originally scheduled for August 11, would have taken place in the Cannon House Building Caucus Room had it not been for the last minute discovery of the terror-linked speakers that the DC-based Peace and Justice Foundation had invited to participate.

However the organization is claiming that Congressman Gregory Meeks, who initially helped organize the event, is actively working with them to reschedule, notwithstanding the organization's public defense of several global terrorist organizations and two notorious cop killers. And a review of the Peace and Justice Foundation's corporate documents shows that the group has been operating illegally for nearly a decade without any accountability whatsoever for funds it has raised for a wide variety of extremist causes.

American Troops Are Winning
By Pete Hegseth, Washington Times, December 11, 2007

But that was then, and this is now; and Iraq in December 2007 is a drastically different place than Iraq in June 2007. Overall attack levels are now at the lowest levels since 2005, monthly coalition deaths are nearing an all-time low, and violence against Iraqi civilians has been reduced by more than 60 percent, according to the anti-war site icasualties.org.  However, the more things change in Iraq, the more they stay the same on Capitol Hill. For the past month, with a few off-handed exceptions, Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill has largely refused to acknowledge success. They are stuck in the talking points of June, and stuck on a narrative of failure.

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From Elsewhere

World Baby Tax Needed to Save Planet, Claims Expert
By Jen Kelly, News.com.au, December 10, 2007

A WEST Australian medical expert wants families to pay a $5000-plus "baby levy" at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child. Writing in today's Medical Journal of Australia, Associate Professor Barry Walters said every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime. Professor Walters, clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia and the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, called for condoms and "greenhouse-friendly" services such as sterilisation procedures to earn carbon credits. And he implied the Federal Government should ditch the $4133 baby bonus and consider population controls like those in China and India.

Arctic Warming, Antarctic Cooling?
By Dennis Avery, American Conservative Union, Issue 97 - December 12, 2007 

Point one: We’ve known for 20 years about the earth’s moderate, natural 1,500-year climate cycle, which we discovered in the Greenland and Antarctic ice cores. The ice shows seven previous global warmings in the past 12,000 years. Two of these—8,000 years ago and 5,000 years ago—were, for many centuries, substantially warmer than today. The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps didn’t melt.

Point two: This can’t be global warming. 1) The Arctic was also warm in the 1920s; the Russians say it happens every 70 years or so. 2) The Antarctic Ice is now at a modern high. The Antarctic has been cooling since the 1960s, according to Peter Doran’s 2002 paper in Nature. Thanks to warming’s additional snowfall, the East Antarctic ice cap is currently gaining about 45 billion tons of ice per year. 

Hume, Father of Postmodernism and Anti-rationalism—Part 1
By Reginald Firehammer, The Automist

Postmodernism, according to the Public Broadcasting System, is: 

A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal. 

Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself." 

I chose this description of postmodernism from PBS, because it is obviously embraced by whoever wrote it. If I had presented a description of post modernism by someone critical of it, the description could easily be put down as an exaggeration or an absurdity no one could believe. For any rational objective person, what postmodernism really promotes must seem like something out of Alice in Wonderland. I also chose this description because it contains most of the concepts that have their origin in David Hume, either directly or consequently.  ...

The purpose of this article is simply to demonstrate that all of the corrupting, anti-intellectual, anti-Western Civilization ideas in all these streams were already in Hume. Subsequent articles will demonstrate how those ideas came to influence those responsible for developing and promoting those ideas and their effects of today's society and culture.

Is Global Warming Just the Latest Salem Witch Hunt?
By Charles Davenport Jr., News-Record.com, December 9, 2007

Global warming skeptics look on in wonder and amazement at the daily barrage of environmental doom and gloom featured in these pages and elsewhere. How is it possible that so many people — journalists, scientists and politicians alike — could be so gullible? History and sociology may prove instructive. 

In 1691, a phenomenon sociologists call a "collective delusion" swept the enclave of Salem Village, Mass. As a consequence of social paranoia, hundreds of people were accused of practicing witchcraft, and perhaps two dozen lost their lives. Of course, we enlightened moderns would never succumb to superstition and mass hysteria. 

Or would we? According to sociologists Robert Bartholomew and Erich Goode, collective delusions have taken place with surprising frequency, and the phenomenon's long and shameful history includes several episodes from the recent past. A relic of the Dark Ages it is not. In fact, global warming could be described as a collective delusion, a modern equivalent to the Salem witch hunt.

Related: Climate Change Dissenters Say They Are Demonized in Debate

The (Tax) War Between the States
By Arthur Laffer & Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2007

A record eight million Americans moved from one state to another last year. Where is everyone going, and why? The answer has little to do with climate: California has arguably the nicest climate of any state in the nation -- yet in this decade more Americans have left the Golden State than entered it.

Migration patterns instead reveal which states have the most dynamic and desirable economies, and which are "has-been" states. The winners in this contest for the most valuable resource on the globe -- human capital -- are generally the states with the lowest tax, spending and regulatory burdens. The biggest losers are almost all congregated in the Northeast and Midwest. Liberals contend that tax rates, regulations, forced union laws and runaway government spending don't matter when it comes to creating jobs, high incomes and a higher quality of life. People tell us otherwise by voting with their feet.

Religion At Christmas 2007
By Donald Devine, American Conservative Union, Issue 97 - December 12, 2007 

"U.S. Stands Alone in Its Embrace of Religion Among Wealthy Nations." That is the title of a Pew Research Center report on the status of worldwide religion—and no other rich country comes close. While 59 percent of Americans say religion plays an important role in their lives (mostly Christianity, which is adhered to by 80%), only about half that percent say religion is important in the second-most religiously-wealthy nation, Great Britain. As the nearby chart shows, religion is important in many countries in South America, Asia and Africa but only the U.S. is both religious and prosperous.

Rather than fading away as Voltaire and the secular left predicted, this Christmas finds religion vital in the most advanced nation, the U.S. Even the left has partially succumbed. A string of electoral losses led Democratic campaign leaders Rahm Emanuel and Charles Schumer to be more positive towards religion, which revised view at least partially explained their Congressional victory in 2006. Whereas Christmas themes almost disappeared after the left began dominating entertainment in the 1970s, now it is impossible to avoid "It’s a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street," much less avowedly religious programs on Jesus, religious services and all-pervasive carols, and even favorable treatment on the role of evangelical religion on National Public Radio! Atheism still sells as several new books prove but it is difficult, with only a few percent supporting it in the U.S. today.

Taxes and Income
The Wall Street Journal Editorial, December 17, 2007

Every Democrat running for President wants to raise taxes on "the rich," but they will have to do something miraculous to outtax President Bush. Based on the latest available tax data, no Administration in modern history has done more to pry tax revenue from the wealthy. Last week the Congressional Budget Office joined the IRS in releasing tax numbers for 2005, and part of the news is that the richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes that year. The richest 5% paid a tad less than 60%, and the richest 10% paid 70%. ... If Democrats really want to soak the rich, they'll keep tax rates where they are, or, better, lower them some more.

Lieberman Will Back McCain
From the Associated Press, December 17, 2007

Connecticut senator, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, will endorse the GOP presidential candidate because of his stance against Islamic terrorism.

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