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True North Archives - January 04, 2011
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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Radio archives are here! Use the controls on our radio archive page to listen to past shows of note (archived shows are available for a limited time only). True North airs daily between 11:00 am - 12:00 noon on Radio Vermont's WDEV, AM 550 & FM 96.1, and on WTWK, 1070 AM (Burlington).

Featured Articles

Blinded by Ideology?
By Robert Maynard

What we are seeing is pattern of attacking the motives of anyone who has the audacity to criticize the BT project. The ideology that mandates support for a government owned entity "during the absolute failure of our capitalist system" is beyond any criticism as it appears to have been given a quasi-religious status that makes it impervious to facts and logic. At least part of the problem in the unwillingness to see the problems associated with this project seems to be a certain degree of ideological blindness.

The Matthew Effect in Sudbury?
By Martin Harris

Martin Harris photoIn normal times, the old Constitutional argument --Jeffersonians for more governance powers to the States and less to the Federal center, Hamiltonians for just the opposite-- had little grass-roots immediacy. It was once taught, briefly, in high school (is it now? check with your present-day civics student) but it was pretty much accepted that the Lincolnian gravitation of power to DC was inevitable and maybe even desirable. But these are not now normal times, and the J v. H debate has spawned not only a Tea Party at the national level and, at last count, 21 health-care rebellions at the State level, but even a parallel little school argument at the town v. State level in Vermont. In Sudbury, the locals want to keep the school open despite declining enrollments and rising costs, while the State Ed Dep’t doesn’t. The Progressive SCOTUS justice, Louis Brandeis, made two relevant comments more than a half-century before the passive-solar, earth-set, solar-oriented, open-plan classroom-design, 60-pupil 6000SF $207K structure was even built in 1980.

*Welcome Home Veterans*

As a special service of True North and the Defenders Council of Vermont for our Returning Veterans, we have done some research and found an online employment and social networking site to help those returning Patriots who are seeking employment and have a desire to network with other returning Patriots. The first group is a social network that is dedicated to providing a "fresh approach to transition from military to civilian life". The group is called "My Vetwork" and can be accessed here. There is another group called "Hire Patriots" which is an employment network for people looking to hire veterans and for veterans looking for work. This site can be accessed here.

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"Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." --Samuel Adams
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

A Tale of Two Telecoms
By Chris Campion, Vermont Tiger, January 3 2011

Tim Nulty, former general manager of Burlington Telecom, is pedaling in a direction other than forward regarding his tenure with BT.  In fact, he's running away from it as far and as fast as he can, in order to get anothertelecom enterprise off the ground in Minnesota. Lake County, Minnesota, has held hearings to find out what Nulty and others at National Public Broadband, the organization Nulty now heads in Minnesota, knew about BT's troubles.  As kind of a bonus, Nulty is throwing the Kiss administration under the bus in the process:

Nulty drove from Vermont to be at Tuesday’s meeting and continued to defend his tenure at the telecom, saying the trouble began after he left and blaming "hanky panky" by Burlington’s mayor and financial officer as the root of the problems there.

He assured board members that nothing like Burlington could happen in Lake County, mainly because of the levels of checks required for payments on invoices the broadband would submit. In Burlington there was "one guy" responsible for finances with "no oversight."

Donovan Appoints BT Special Prosecutor
By John Briggs, Burlington Free Press, December 29 2010

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan named former Chittenden County State’s Attorney Robert Simpson as a special prosecutor Wednesday in the investigation of Burlington Telecom financial issues.

There Will Be Taxes
By John McClaughry, Vermont Tiger, December 28 2010

In mid-January Vermont's Blue Ribbon Tax Commission will issue its final report. Its three members have agreed that their recommendations will be revenue neutral. Two of the three members have reportedly agreed to propose a reduction in Vermont's income and sales tax rates, paid for by terminating current deductions and exemptions and by broadening the sales and use tax to services.

Lunderville on Vt.'s Financial Future
From WCAX-TV, December 30 2010

Montpelier is getting set to welcome a new team-- Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin will be sworn in next week. And that means Douglas administration officials are saying goodbye. One of them is Administration Secretary Neale Lunderville.

Lunderville served as Gov. Jim Douglas' campaign manager, was then promoted to transportation secretary, and then landed the position of secretary of administration-- one of the most powerful jobs in state government.

The secretary of administration is the numbers guy. And right now, the numbers don't look good. Vermont is facing a $150 million budget shortfall.

Recharge of the Light Brigade?
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger, December 30 2010

Green Mountain Power is anticipating there will be at least a few Vermonters who will be buying electric cars and will need to charge them up while not at home.  The company

says it plans to install three solar-powered charging stations for hybrid-electric cars in Chittenden, Washington and Addison counties in 2011.

One simple question I have is, what happens if someone wants to charge their electric car from one of these stations at night?  That's not a snide question, but rather it gets to the heart of why solar (and wind, for that matter) are problematic as sources of electricity.

Dorn on Economic Development in Vermont
From WCAX-TV, December 23 2010

Asked what the biggest challenge the new administration faces when it comes to creating jobs, Dorn said, "The challenge will be to maintain or improve the economic development climate in Vermont. There'll be a lot of people who want to spend more money, raise taxes, create more regulation, and push that burden on to the backs of business-- the people who actually create jobs in Vermont. What the administration needs to do is what the Douglas administration has done over these years, which is try to hold and build a solid economic development climate so that business feels confident that they can expand here in Vermont and employ more Vermonters."

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

The American 21st Century
By Victor Davis Hanson, The Heritage Foundation, December 30 2010

As we enter this new decade, we are currently being lectured that China is soon to be the global colossus. Its economy is now second only to America's, but with a far faster rate of growth and budget surpluses rather than debt. Few seem to mention that China's mounting social tensions, mercantilism, environmental degradation and state bosses belong more to a 19th than 21st century nation.

Two symptoms of all this doom and gloom are constant over the decades. First, America typically goes through periodic bouts of neurotic self-doubt, only to wake up and snap out of it. Indeed, indebted Americans are already bracing for fiscal restraint and parsimony as an antidote to past profligacy.

Second, decline is relative and does not occur in a vacuum. As Western economic and scientific values ripple out from Europe and the United States, it is understandable that developing countries like China, India or Brazil can catapult right into the 21st century. But that said, national strength is still found in the underlying hardiness of the patient -- its demography, culture and institutions -- rather than occasional symptoms of ill health.

In that regard, America integrates immigrants and assimilates races and ethnicities in a way Europe cannot. Russia, China and Japan are simply not culturally equipped to deal with millions who do not look Slavic, Chinese or Japanese. The Islamic world cannot ensure religious parity to Christians, Jews or Hindus -- or political equality to women.

China's Navy Gets Bigger -- But Why?
By Dr. Austin Bay, Real Clear Politics, December 15 2010

The Chinese Navy's expansion program began in the 1990s, as China's fleet began to venture away from China's coast and develop blue water (open ocean) capabilities. Now Chinese submarines encounter U.S. Navy task forces, and Chinese warships turn up in the Indian Ocean. China may launch its first aircraft carrier in 2011. It will take years to produce carrier pilots and crew comparable to those in the Navy, but acquiring the technology is a huge step.

What does China intend to do with its carrier? The rest of Asia, from India to Japan, wants to know. For example, Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea conflict sharply with those of Vietnam and the Philippines. A carrier extends China's offensive reach in this contested sea zone.

Related Article: China's New Missile: A Game Changer?

'Self-Inflicted Wounds' Points to al-Qaeda's Defeat
By James Carafano, PhD, Family Security Matters, December 28 2010

The center combats terrorist threats to the U.S. through education, research and policy analyses. Center staff work with cadets, as well as the Pentagon and law enforcement agencies at all levels of government. They produce some of the world's best work on transnational terrorism

The center's latest product, "Self-Inflicted Wounds: Debates and divisions with al Qa'ida and its periphery," (pdf document, downloadable, 251 pages in length) is a must read. No better "state of the enemy" assessment exists. It concludes that the Islamist terrorist movement has not weathered the global war well.

External pressures and internal divisions have taken their toll. "Self-Inflicted wounds" describes the jihadi movement, helmed by al Qaeda, as "one that lacks coherence and unity, despite its claims to the contrary."

Back to Declinism
The world will be worse without a liberal hegemon.
By Michael Auslin, The National Review, December 28 2010

In the clinical view that Kennedy takes, the United States (and before it, Great Britain) is, in the end, simply interchangeable with all previous and future great powers, and its unique domestic society and global behavior are but epiphenomenal. The best that Kennedy can do is a grudging acknowledgment that "we should all be careful to wish away a reasonably benign American hegemony; we might regret its going." Such are the wages paid to nearly two centuries of liberal growth and international stewardship.

Nowhere in Kennedy’s ruminations do the words "liberty" or "freedom" appear, and he mentions democracy only once, when recounting Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye’s analysis of the global effects of American power. The indivisible links among a given society’s domestic structure, its national strength, and its international position are thus dismissed.

There is no recognition either that national greatness over the long term must come from the character of a given society or that the nature of the hegemonic country will determine to a great degree the nature of the international system. It is no accident that Great Britain and the United States became so powerful and stable. Surely, the unique combination of ever-more-efficient capitalist financing and production along with slowly expanding democracy should be accounted the prime source of Anglo-American greatness.

Mideast Meddlers Turned Back in Iraq
By Amir Taheri, Family Security Matters, December 28 2010

On Dec. 21, the National Assembly, Iraq's parliament, approved the 42 members of the proposed Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- a long but exciting process as the parliament members discussed and then voted, one by one, on each ministerial candidate.

The good news is that the government was formed without foreign intervention. America, which still has more than 50,000 troops in Iraq, decided from the start to stay on the sidelines. The regional powers saw that as an opportunity for meddling.

The Islamic Republic in Iran reportedly spent almost $1 billion to help its Iraqi Shiite allies win seats in the general election. The result was a meager 45 out of 320 seats, divided among several groups.

Islamic Supremacists Envision a Takeover of the Internet
By Pamela Geller, The American Thinker, December 28 2010

It was hardly noticed at the time, but its consequences could be catastrophic.  Late last September, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which assigns internet domain names, approved a huge change in the way it operates.  Europe and North America will now have five seats on its Board of Directors, instead of ten, and a new "Arab States" region will have five seats as well.

How big a deal is this?  ICANN at the same time took a reference to "terrorism" out of its Draft Applicant Guidebook.  Why?  Because Arab groups complained.  And so now jihad terror websites can grow and prosper, as ICANN has removed its own ability to police them.

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From Elsewhere

The Poverty of Ambition: Why the West is Losing to China and India
By Joel Kotkin, Forbes Magazine, December 30 2010

The last 10 years have been the worst for Western civilization since the 1930s. At the onset of the new millennium North America, Europe and Oceania stood at the cutting edge of the future, with new technologies and a lion’s share of the world’s GDP.  At its end, most of these economies limped, while economic power – and all the influence it can buy politically – had shifted to China, India and other developing countries.

Altogether, 35 percent of the nation’s total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade.

This past decade China’s economic growth rate, at 10% per annum, grew to five times that U.S.; the gap was even more disparate between China and the slower-growing  E.U.,  Yet periods of slow economic growth occur throughout history — recall the 1970s — and economies recover. The bigger problem facing Western countries, then, is a metaphysical one — a malady that the British writer Austin Williams has dubbed "the poverty of ambition."

This lack of ambition plagues virtually every Western country. The ability to act has become shackled by a profound pessimism that according to a recent Gallup survey contrasts with the optimism found not only in rising states like China, India and Brazil, but also deeply impoverished places like Bangladesh.

A Tithe for Uncle Sam
By John Addison Teevan, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, December 29 2010

Political leaders talk as if the money Americans keep (not paid in taxes) belongs to the government and that our keeping money they could tax is an actual cost to them. This kind of distorted thinking has led us into the fiscal irresponsibility that threatens to destroy our country. ...

The most extreme example of the fallacious notion that government has a right to its citizens’ money is the idea is that the cost to the government of not taxing the disposable income of all Americans at 100 percent is $11.5 trillion (as if we’d bother working if we faced a 100 percent tax rate). Economist Arthur Laffer noted that the government might collect little in taxes if the tax rates were either very low or very high, because in the latter case Americans would adjust their income according to tax incentives. Government officials unfortunately tend not to think in terms of incentives but of rules and therefore assume, contrary to Laffer’s findings, that higher tax rates always bring in more revenue.

Taken to its conclusion, this thinking leads tragically to socialism. If we think the government is the best source of compassion for the needy and the engine of economic growth, then it makes sense to set taxes at high rates so the government can do all good things for the people. One small faction that I read about in an Ohio paper wants Uncle Sam to hire all unemployed people and then print the money to pay them. This childish scheme is really a variation of the more respectable idea that tax cuts "cost" the government in the same way that spending on defense or health care does.

No Clintonian Comeback for Obama
By Tony Blankley, Real Clear Politics, December 29 2010

Don't believe all the Washington talk that President Obama had a great lame duck session and goes into the new year and the new 112th congress with the whip hand. Utter nonsense.

Let's review the lame duck session as it happened -- not as it has been instantly revised by the ever-obliging Washington press corps.

In the first week or so, the president capitulated to Ronald Reagan's supply side theory that tax cuts expand the economy, and tax increases contract it. The central policy was to not let expire the Bush tax cuts, not only because it would be tough on middle-class taxpayers, but also, the White House argued, because keeping tax rates down would be good for the economy.

Even the great triangulator, Bill Clinton, never conceded this point. In 1993, he raised taxes by about $400 billion to manage the deficit. And, while the economy slowed down briefly to a mere 1.9 percent GDP growth, the new dot-com technology business brought us the great economic expansion of the later 1990s -- so Clinton never conceded to supply side theory.

Berwick Sets Up Death Panels By Fiat
By Jeffrey Lord, The American Spectator, December 28 2010

While Americans were busy celebrating with family and friends and presumably not paying attention to the news, the New York Times, in a story ironically dated Christmas Day -- a holiday celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace -- reported the following:

Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir

WASHINGTON -- When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over "death panels," Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.
In other words, the 2009 charge leveled by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the then-House Minority Leader Boehner that Obama fully intended to set up what Palin termed government "death panels" -- panels that Boehner said would set the government on the road to euthanasia -- is no longer a charge. It's reality. By executive fiat -- in this case a new Medicare rule issued by Obama Medicare chief Dr. Donald Berwick.

The Immortal Tyranny of Climate Change.
Regulation takes over when legislation is defeated
By John Hayward, Human Events, December 29 2010

Thomas Sowell wrote yesterday of the effort to secretly re-introduce the ObamaCare "death panels" through regulation as an "end run around the Constitution."  Here’s another one, and it’s even bigger: a year after the Climagate scandal decisively exposed the fraud of global warming, and acting in the face of a new Republican House that does not look kindly on climate change flim-flams, the Obama Administration is preparing to enforce their ideology through EPA greenhouse gas regulations.

So much for the latest "hard pivot to jobs," announced only five days ago by President Obama. These EPA regulations are guaranteed job-killers, dropping a huge new tax on every affected business… which will, ultimately, be every business that uses energy.

Yes, cap-and-trade is back again.  It crawled out of the House of Representatives chewing on a couple billion dollars of fried pork, then collapsed and died of a coronary on the Senate floor… but it’s simply been retooled and forced on America as a set of regulations, due to take effect on January 2nd.

2011 Predictions
An NRO Symposium
From the National Review, December 22 2010

What might happen in the upcoming year? We asked a few of National Review Online’s sages to prophesy the events of 2011.

Illinois Attempts to Link Teacher Tenure to Results
By Stephanie Banchero, The Wall Street Journal, January 4 2011

Most controversial, the measure would severely curb teachers' power to strike by giving local school boards the final say in contract disputes. Illinois is among only 13 states that allow teachers to walk the picket line.

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