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True North Archives - May 25, 2010
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 Radio airs daily on WDEV AM & WDEV FM from 11 am to noon.

Featured Articles

Déjà vu: Private Property and the Northern Forest
By Robert Maynard

This week’s Vermont news section of True North carries a Burlington Free Press article that gives me a sense of déjà vu. You know, the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before. The article in question is entitled "New England scientists call for forest conservation" by Candice Page. In reference to the Northern Forest that runs through the northern parts of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, it covers a group of New England scientists call for the "permanent conservation of 90 percent of the region’s 33 million acres of forest." ...

It is clear that they see private ownership where "each landowner makes separate decisions" as a problem to be solved. Is it then unreasonable for property rights activists to conclude that, by whatever means, the ultimate goal of these "preservationists" is to ensure that private ownership and separate decision making are no longer possible?

The Public Likes Republicans (and Democrats) Who Act Like Republicans
By Rob Roper

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected after campaigning on largely Republican economic themes, bashing Bush relentlessly for profligate spending and turning surpluses into deficits. However, since taking over, Obama has gone beyond a Democrat acting like a Democrat. Some might argue he’s taken this dynamic to a whole new level: a Democrat acting like a Socialist.

However you want to label this radical leftward shift, Obama’s and his Democratic majorities’ gushing of red ink, projected to double the debt in five years and triple it in ten, taking over auto companies, pushing through an unpopular, trillion dollar health care law, the list goes on… has led to the fastest decline in poll numbers of any president in modern history. The Democrats’ majorities in both chambers of Congress are in serious jeopardy.

Gesture Politics: VT vs. the FRS
By Martin Harris

Given its historical economics-performance record, it’s understandable that Congress wouldn’t want to take another try at its Constitutionally-assigned job, any time soon. The [Legislative Branch]’ers could never even agree on a "Bank of the United States", eventually issuing temporary licenses for a First and then a Second, both as private parties with a side-ticket to do public business. Each license expired after 20 years. Thus, from 1789 to 1913 (124 years) private banks "coined money" (actually, issued paper bank notes as well as specie coinage) and there were ups and downs in inflation and deflation, but the overall record was one of 12% purchasing power decline during their non-governmental efforts to "regulate the value" of American money. It took $1.12 in 1913 to buy what a dollar bought in 1789, the Economic History website says. And then, under Progressive –only experts should run everything-- pretensions in 1913, Congress created a Fed to do their job for them, and of course more skillfully than the private sector.

The [Economic History web] site also reports on the dismal result: the decline in dollar value under Federal Reserve management in the 95 years from 1913 to 2008: 95%. It took $22.40 to equal the earlier $1.

True North Extra (YouTube Video)
By Rob Roper and Bill Sayre

May 24, 2010  — Host of True North Radio, Rob Roper, and Bill Sayre discuss the week in politics, touching on subjects they didn't get to during the weekly radio show. 

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"The root of the matter is this: we have been ruled by men who live by illusions, the illusion that you can spend money you haven't earned without eventually going bankrupt or falling into the hands of your creditors; the illusion that real jobs can be conjured into existence by Government decree like rabbits out of a hat; the illusion that there is some other way of creating work and wealth than by hard work and satisfying your customers; the illusion that you can have freedom and enterprise without believing in free enterprise; the illusion that you can have an effective foreign policy without a strong defense force and a peaceful and orderly society without absolute respect for the law."  – Margaret Thatcher
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

New England Scientists Call for Forest Conservation
By Candace Page, The Burlington Free Press, May 20, 2010

A group of scientists from across New England called Wednesday for permanent conservation of 90 percent of the region’s 33 million acres of forest, saying the economic, environmental and cultural benefits of a forested landscape are threatened by subdivision and development.

About 27 million acres should be conserved as working woodlands, producing wood products and local jobs. Another 3 million acres should be protected as "wildlands," largely free of human management, the scientists said.

What Does Vermont And Greece Have In Common?
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 19, 2010

What does Vermont (and California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and about 12 other states) have in common with Greece? Quite clearly, a ruling party that either has not learned or believes itself to be exempt from some unalterably tough economic facts.

Give The People What They Want
By Art Woolf. Vermont Tiger, May 21, 2010

To overturn the Town Meeting Day decision, the no votes needed to win out and exceed two-thirds of the 218 yes votes cast on Town Meeting Day. That meant more than 145 people needed to [vote no] ...    With turnout reaching 686 people — about 48 percent of all registered voters, according to Town Clerk Nanette Rogers — the number of "no" votes far exceeded that figure.           -- Freeps
And what, one wonders, would inspire such turnout among "no" voters.  What, in Vermont, could drive so many voters to the polls when they would not be voting for President or Governor?  What could make so many of them so eager to vote "no."  Was the issue texting while driving?  Relicensing Vermont Yankee?  Taxation of capital gains or estates?  Or any of the other items on the agenda of the recently adjourned legislature?

Dragon's Teeth
Caledonia Record Editorial, May 18, 2010

With the Vermont Legislature's close late Wednesday night, it is worth looking at what they haven't done that will set the stage for the new Legislature to be elected in November. ...

The wise old saying is that if you sew dragons' teeth, you will reap a dragons' harvest. If what the Legislature hasn't done this session is the equivalent of sewing dragons' teeth, we can look for the dragons' harvest next year.

Blown Chance
By Hugh Kemper, Vermont Tiger, May 19, 2010

Don’t be fooled – at least with respect to property taxes and education reform – by the self-congratulatory vibes emanating from Montpelier. School districts – by keeping education spending flat – largely rescued property taxes for FY2011.  For FY2012 – a.k.a. crunch time – no, i.e. zilch/nada, substantive education spending reforms were adopted to mitigate the prospect of significant property tax increases. Proactively addressing tough, structural spending issues has not been in this Legislature’s DNA.  Acting true to form, the 2010 legislative session was an opportunity lost.

School Bailout
Democrats Push a Bad Proposal.
From the Valley News, May 17, 2010

The federal government sent an unprecedented $100 billion to schools last year as part of the stimulus package. The aim was to avert draconian cuts in school personnel and programs while fostering reform. Whether the government got its money's worth is debated, but it seems one result is an unfortunate expectation of yet more federal dollars to bail out the states.

Related: Maybe the Teachers Unions Could Help School Budgets

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Rima Fakih and the Fragility of Islam
By David P. Goldman, Spengler Blog, May 18, 2010

The strictures of traditional society are a flimsy defense against modernity. The moment that members of traditional society cease to live under a regime of compulsion, they tend to adopt the habits of the ambient culture. The most dramatic expression of this trend is the collapse of Muslim birth rates, especially among Muslims who have emigrated to the West. As Martin Walker wrote in the Woodrow Wilson Center Quarterly in 1999, "the birthrates of Muslim women in Europe—and around the world—have been falling significantly for some time. Data on birthrates among different religious groups in Europe are scarce, but they point in a clear direction. Between 1990 and 2005, for example, the fertility rate in the Netherlands for Moroccan-born women fell from 4.9 to 2.9, and for Turkish- born women from 3.2 to 1.9. In 1970, Turkish- born women in Germany had on average two children more than German- born women. By 1996, the difference had fallen to one child, and it has now dropped to half that number." 

Farewell to America's China Station
Beijing is poised to project ever greater power in the Pacific. The U.S. doesn't appear up to the challenge.
By Mark Helprin,The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2010

The United States and China are on a collision course in the Western Pacific. Far sooner than once anticipated, China will achieve effective military parity in Asia, general conventional parity, and nuclear parity. Then the short road to superiority will be impossible for it to ignore, as it is already on its way thanks to a brilliant policy borrowed from Japan and Israel.

Related Article: Thanks To 3 Senators, China Entrenched In Iraqi Oil For 20 Years

Iran Prepared to Block Gulf Oil and Wreck Western Economies
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,Israel National News, May 17, 2010

Iran’s recently-concluded war games concentrated on preparations to block the Persian Gulf and wreck Western economies in the event that the United Nations Security Council tries to place harsh sanctions against it.

Forty percent of the world’s oil and gas sails through the Persian Gulf, and an Iranian blockade would cause an inflationary spike in energy prices and a fuel shortage that could cause catastrophe for the West, which is dependent on Iranian crude to fuel their gas-hungry economies.

Venezuela and Iran: Going to the Next Level
By Douglas Farah,Family Security Matters, May18, 2010

The recent unclassified Pentagon assessment of Iran's military power released last month to Congress shows official reporting is finally catching up to reality on the ground in regard to Iran's Latin American activities. The increase comes at a time of deep economic troubles for the Chávez government in Venezuela, as noted by the Hudson Institute's Jaime Daremblum.

It is also only the most public look at how Venezuela and Iran are enhancing their military partnerships, particularly in field of asymmetrical warfare where both states are hoping to use their non-state proxies to take on the "Empire," meaning the United States. For a range of views on this, see my chapter and others in Woodrow Wilson Center publication Iran in Latin America: Threat or Axis of Annoyance?

Officials: NYC Bomb Suspect Got Taliban Support
By Tom Hays, Associated Press, May 21, 2010

The Times Square bomb suspect claimed during his lengthy interrogation that he received financial support from the Pakistani Taliban for his failed one-man operation, two U.S. law enforcement officials close to the probe said Friday.

Investigators believe funding for Faisal Shahzad in the United States was channeled through an underground money transfer network known as "hawala," the officials said. But, one official told The Associated Press, "there's a belief that no one in the U.S. who got him the funds was aware of what they were for."

The Fruits of Weakness
By Charles Krauthammer, Real Clear Politics, May 21, 2010

It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20 percent). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program.

It will, however, make meaningful sanctions more difficult. America's proposed Security Council resolution is already laughably weak -- no blacklisting of Iran's central bank, no sanctions against Iran's oil and gas industry, no nonconsensual inspections on the high seas. Yet Turkey and Brazil -- both current members of the Security Council -- are so opposed to sanctions that they will not even discuss the resolution. And China will now have a new excuse to weaken it further.

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From Elsewhere

The Technocrats’ New Clothes
Climategate, the Icelandic volcano, the Greek meltdown — suddenly the bureaucratic Masters of the Universe don’t look so omnipotent.

By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, May 19, 2010

In the last year, many of the dreams of an emerging international elite have imploded — and this, in a new century that was to usher in a regime of global liberal ecumenism.

Drilling Is Worth the Risk
By Lawrence M. Cathles, Forbes Magazine, May 18, 2010

Yes, it's dangerous. But so is doing without the oil.

That huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 210,000 gallons a day is threatening the ocean and the coastline, and has earned BP, Transocean and Halliburton the sort of invective previously reserved for Goldman Sachs.

Let's put this risk of drilling in the gulf into perspective: Accidents, although rare, do occur in the gulf, and everywhere oil is produced. What makes risks and the damage they incur acceptable are the benefits to the economy and the U.S. way of life, which also are very great. A society that cannot manage risk wisely and accept some risk has no future.

Related Article: Oil Rig Update, Day 26: Still Waiting

Landslide Rand
By W. James Antle, III, The American Spectator, May 19, 2010

On Tuesday, the Tea Party movement scored its first major statewide victory over the Republican establishment. Bowling Green ophthalmologist Rand Paul trounced Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson by 59 percent to 35 percent, winning the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY).

Grayson was the handpicked candidate of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In a normal year, that might have assured him the nomination. Instead such ties became a liability, one Grayson exacerbated by demonstrating a sense of entitlement to a Senate seat last seen when Martha Coakley turned up her nose at shaking hands with voters outside Fenway Park.

Rand Paul tapped into the primary electorate's anger at Barack Obama, bipartisan bailouts of private industry, and the steady growth of the federal government. But the son of 11-term libertarian Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) won in large part because he knew when to follow in his father's footsteps and when to chart his own course.

Culture War Turns to Texas Textbooks
By William La Jeunesse, Fox News, May 19, 2010

What do liberal lawmakers in California share with their conservative counterparts in Texas? Very little. But this week both are watching the 15 member Texas State Board of Education, which will choose the next generation of history textbooks for most American children.

The left-right culture war will play out over the choice of words, photos, who to honor and what events in American and world history should receive a few lines of text. It may sound innocent, when it is anything but.

The Politicizing Of Bankruptcy
By Sam Zamarripa, Forbes Magazine, May 17, 2010

Sen. Dodd's financial reform bill could change the whole process.

Is America moving away from being a nation ruled by law to one ruled by men? That's the question senators should consider this week as they move to vote on Sen. Chris Dodd's financial reform legislation. How the legislation is finalized could have long-term adverse consequences on America's bankruptcy process.

The PA-12 Results Are Bad For the GOP. Just How Bad?
By Jim Geraghty, National Review, May 18, 2010

A point: Tim Burns’s task was complicated by the fact that he was running against a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who ran against the health-care bill and the cap-and-trade legislation. The Burns campaign did everything they could to tie Critz to Democratic figures and laws that polled badly in the district — Pelosi, the health-care bill — and it appears that in the end, voters in the district weren’t buying it.

But I am wondering about the Burns campaign’s get-out-the-vote operation at this hour. Also, another conservative blogger mentioned to me a few days ago that some supporters of Bill Russell, the Republican who ran against John Murtha in 2008, wouldn’t be supporting Burns in the special election. (Russell is competing against Burns in the primary election for the November ballot; at this moment, Burns leads Russell, 56 percent to 43 percent.) I was skeptical that enough Russell supporters would do this to effect the race, but now I’m wondering. Did the Russell folks keep their ballots blank?

Over the Rainbows
By Jonah Goldberg, Jewish World Review, May 21, 2010

I was on Fox News recently and was asked to debate the proposition that Obama's candidate endorsements are the "kiss of death." My response: No, they aren't the kiss of death, but they certainly aren't the kiss of life either. They're more like a kiss from your sister. They add little to no excitement while inviting many unwanted questions. 

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