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True North Archives - July 20, 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 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

A Simple Question, a Deafening Silence…
By Rob Roper 

Two weeks ago, I posed an open question to our federal delegation in Washington: 

How much of the money earned by any United States citizen through his or her labor in the pursuit of happiness do you believe said citizen should be entitled – as a right and under any circumstance -- to keep, free from the taxing hands of government? As predicted by myself and others, the silence from Leahy, Sanders and Welch has so far been deafening. Not surprisingly, as of this writing I have received no reply to my snail-mail missives (complete with self addressed stamped envelopes, no less) from any of them. 

Senator Leahy Must Decide: is Elena Kagan for Life or Death?
By Kelly Bartlett

The Judiciary Committee hearings presided over by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy regarding Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court are over; now the deliberations begin.

Fairytale Government
By Mark Shepard

The inability of our federal government to function in the real world is not simply that we elected the wrong people to run it; it is that we allowed our government to grow into a Super-Government that cannot be run by anyone. Like Superman, every time there is a need, problem or even a want we turn to Super-Government to save the day. We expect Super-Government to accomplish the unimaginable, and just like Superman, the only place the unimaginable can be accomplished is in an imaginary world.

TN Video Extra, 7-17-10
Rob Roper reads Ralph T. Heath's poem, "Now Is the Time."

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"Most of us know that the responsibility of the educational system has been growing every year for decades. We not only expect our schools to teach fundamental reading, writing, and arithmetic to our children but also to expect our schools to make sure that they are fed, have clean clothes and that they are protected from harm from others including their own families. We now expect our schools to take on the responsibility that once belonged to parents, communities, and human services agencies."

- Rep. John Zenie, who sits on Vermont's House Education Committee

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

King of the Road
By Dan Foty, Vermont Tiger, July 16, 2010

But you know what?  That stretch of road between Arad and Oradea - the one that my colleague apologized for - was much better than that (dilapidated) stretch of Route 15.

This is embarrassing.

This will probably be the legacy of the "flower children" in Vermont.  Having squandered our resources on a variety of ideological vanities, the infrastructure has been under-cared-for.  Now that those ideological vanities have trashed the economy, we can't even afford to maintain roads anymore.

The rewards of dominance by economically-illiterate children....

A Perfect Political Storm
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 16, 2010

This situation is not politically fanciful. It is a real "perfect storm" that lies in wait for us next January if the current Democratic majority gets matched up with a Democratic governor next November. Republican Jim Douglas has been all that has stood in the way of that perfect storm for the past eight years. He's out now, and who comes in is up to Vermont's voters.

It is axiomatic that you get, and you deserve, the government for which you vote. We hope Vermonters think long and hard before they mark their ballots next time. The obvious choice clearly is Brian Dubie.

Ethanol-Free Gas on the Way Out
By Matt Stkoski, The Burlington Free Press, July 9, 2010

Linda Pecor co-owns Beaudry's Store in Huntington, which sells ethanol-free gas. She said her distributor told her there would be no more ethanol-free gas starting in September. She said she is frustrated by the mandate for ethanol, saying many farmers and landscapers rely on ethanol-free fuel.

"It's a very big issue," said Paul Ramsey, who works at Small Engine Co. Inc. in Colchester, which repairs lawn mowers and other equipment. He says ethanol damages carburetors and fuel lines.

Ramsey said Small Engine Co. replaces 80 percent more lawn-mower carburetors now than before ethanol took off.

Pollution in Lake Champlain, Part 1: After Millions in Cost, Where's the Benefit?
By Kathryn Flagg, Addison County Independent, July 16, 2010

After 10 years and roughly $100 million in public investments, the quality of Lake Champlain’s ailing waters remains all but unchanged.

Though a statistical study released in June by two scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey showed slight decreases in the amount of phosphorus entering the lake — down by between one and three percent in places — frustration is brewing among residents and environmentalists who say too little is being done to clean up Lake Champlain. High levels of phosphorus and other nutrients, washed into the lake in the form of runoff from agricultural, urban and suburban sites, are leading to excess plant growth, decreased water quality, and decaying plant matter that over time can turn a once-clear lake into a boggy marshland (at least in its shallower sections).

Sex Offender or Not?
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 15, 2010

Vermont's nearly new sexual offender registry's 195 errors are unforgiveable. The registry is absolutely necessary because parents and others need it to be 100 percent accurate if it is to accomplish what it was intended to do, i.e., let the public know who and where these birds are.

Conversely, if the registry contains errors that include listing people who are not sex offenders, it grievously offends these innocent people by ruining their reputations. Sadly, it does contain such errors.

Tax and Tax Again
By Michael Gardner, Vermont Tiger, July 9, 2010

Last year's legislative session ended with many efforts to tighten up the budget and one of them reared its ugly head this week as tens of thousands of Vermonters were informed (incorrectly by most estimates) that their income sensitivity was being adjusted to reflect their interest and dividend income. It seems that since they had received more than $10,000 in interest and dividend income the income was going to be "double counted" because they were rich and Vermont loves class warfare, just kidding, that was the byproduct not the intent, which was to cause you to spite your pensioner of a neighbor, oh sorry that was a byproduct too, I guess the intent was to penalize those successful among us and provide another cushion to public sector employees. Job well done!

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

"Mostly Free" - The Startling Decline of America’s Economic Freedom and What to Do About It. (pdf)
By Ambassador Terry Miller & Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation, July 14, 2010

In 2010, for the first time ever, the United States has fallen from the ranks of the economically "free" as measured by the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. With a score of only 78.0 on the Index’s 0–100 scale, the United States has fallen below the cutoff (an average score of 80 or above) that earns countries the right to call themselves truly "free." The United States’ current status? "Mostly free."

How did this happen? What can be done to address the problem and allow Americans to reclaim the economic freedoms they have lost?

This booklet provides a snapshot of American’s economic freedom and compares conditions in the United States with those in other countries around the world. A program of straightforward but bold reforms is proposed to put the U.S. back where it belongs: as a world leader in economic freedom.

Why Russia Makes a Lousy Ally
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, July 15, 2010

Most of the smart set at the State Department believes that Vladmir Putin's Russia is no longer an enemy of the United States and is, in fact, an ally when it comes to the War on Terror and other related issues.

Uh-huh. And my pet cat Snowball is a Rhodes scholar.

Taliban Commander Linked to al Qaeda, Iran, killed in US strike in Western Afghanistan
By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, July 16, 2010

Coalition special operations forces and Afghan commandos have killed a wanted Taliban commander with links to al Qaeda and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, during a raid on a training camp in western Afghanistan.

Mullah Akhtar and an undisclosed number of Taliban fighters were killed in a combined special operations raid yesterday on a training camp used by foreign fighters in the Bala Boluk district in Farah province. The special operations teams had been hunting Akhtar for more than two months.…

In a June 6 press release, ISAF stated that Akhtar "had close ties with Taliban and al Qaeda senior leaders." It also said that he "was responsible for arranging training for foreign fighters from Iran and helped resolve disputes between militant networks."

Akhtar also worked closely with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Qods Force. The IRGC is tasked with defending the Islamic Revolution inside Iran while exporting the radical ideology to neighboring countries and worldwide. Qods Force is the IRGC's external special operations branch.

Iran’s Global Terrorist Reach
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, July 10, 2010

The United States became painfully aware of the threat posed by global jihadism after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Until that day, Iranian-backed terrorist networks, such as Hezbollah, were responsible for killing more American citizens than al-Qaeda. In the years since, the balance has been gradually tilting back towards Iran. In the words of former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, al-Qaeda may be the 'B' team of international terrorism, but Hezbollah is the 'A' team. Indeed, Iran's Khomeinists began their war on the U.S. and other democracies years before Osama bin Laden began his jihad.

Prospects for Stability in Musa Qala: Challenges and Possible Solutions
By Bill Ardolino, The Long War Journal, July 17, 2010

Ultimately, stability will come to Musa Qala District when the population achieves confidence in the government, local security forces can sustain themselves against challenges by insurgents, and developmental aid reforms the opium economy.

Positive factors at present include the existence of reasonably effective, respected police and soldiers, a competent Deputy District Governor and an incoming District Governor, and an active security and reconstruction partnership with the US Marines. The challenges are significant: in addition to the complications caused by the drug economy, locals are jaded by government promises, especially after their experience with the recently ousted District Governor Mullah Salaam, and do not yet believe that irrevocable momentum is with the Afghan security forces prior to the looming ISAF withdrawal.

Most citizens are open to promises of American and Afghan government reconstruction, but still hedge their bets in the face of continued Taliban intimidation. And opium and its close nexus with instability cast a pall over the effort. Until the Afghan government and the international community devise an effective solution to reengineer the local economy away from drugs, by creating widespread access to processing, distribution, and credit for alternate crops - in an insecure environment - poppy will remain king. And as long as poppy remains king, narcoterrorists and criminals will have a vested interest in destabilizing or corrupting the national government presence in Helmand and Musa Qala.

Al Qaeda Goes Viral
The terrorists' latest recruiting device: an English language Internet magazine.
By Peter Hoekstra, The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2010

Earlier this month, the full version of Inspire, a new English language journal, surfaced on the Internet. It's publisher? The Yemen-based terrorist organization, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Although al Qaeda has long employed the Web, DVDs and video games to reach mass audiences, the sophistication and provocative nature of this publication suggests it is intended to "go viral"—or spread rapidly among many Internet users—in the English speaking world, especially in the United States.

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From Elsewhere

The Impact of Shale Gas Technology on Geopolitics
Dr. Daniel Fine of MIT discusses how new technology in extracting gas will impact geopolitics and the environment.
The Fletcher School of International Affairs at Tuffs University

Dr. Daniel Fine of the Mining and Minerals Resources Institute at MIT addressed Fletcher students at a talk sponsored by the International Security Studies Program and offered his insights into how the development of new technology will allow the United States to tap vast, previously inaccessible, resources of natural gas that will impact everything from the price of gasoline to the ability of Chinese companies to buy equity in Russian natural gas fields.

The United States has a monopoly on "hydro-fracing" technology. The technology, short for hydraulic fracturing, releases natural gas trapped in shale deposits by injecting the deposits with high-pressure water mixed with sand and small amounts of chemical additives.

Kagan Nomination Hits Roadblock
By Rosslyn Smith, American Thinker, July 15, 2010

Could it happen? Could Kagan's nomination wither on the vine? It's probably unlikely. But at the back of my mind is the tale John Bolton tells in his excellent memoir Surrender is Not an Option, on how Harry Reid is a master of the rope a dope when it comes to killing a nomination while appearing to approve it going forward.  When Bolton was nominated as UN Ambassador in Spring 2005 that vote was also delayed in getting out of the committee. When it reached the floor of the Senate then Minority Leader Reid told Senate Majority leader Bill Frist the Democrats wouldn't filibuster. Frist then scheduled a cloture vote that failed because of absences from the Senate that day!   Reid again told Frist there was no filibuster.  Frist scheduled a second cloture vote which also failed, again not because 41 Senators voted No but because once again not everyone was present to vote!  Frist looked incompetent and Reid looked like a fox. 

It could happen. The wimpiest of the Republicans are also from rural states where gun control is anathema. NRA members could influence them even if there inclination is to give the President his nominee. This time as Majority Leader Reid would be the one looking like a fool for not counting heads ahead of time, but if he thought it would help save his seat? Looking like a fool has seldom been an issue for Harry Reid.

Electric Cars: All Charged Up, but Still Stuck in First Gear
By Joseph B. White, The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2010

To appreciate the obstacles standing in the way of the electric-car dream, you don't need to talk to electric-vehicle skeptics or hybrid haters. Instead, you can listen to the people who believe in electric vehicles, and are investing in those beliefs.

Proponents of the technology will tell you that anyone buying an electric vehicle will want to know at least two things: How far can I drive before I have to recharge? And, where can I go to recharge when I am on the road, far from home? Companies acknowledge that clear answers to those questions aren't yet available—and may not be until a good while after the coming flock of electric cars has hit showrooms.

Tesla Motors outlines as part of its public-offering documents a lengthy recitation of risks to its business. It's sobering reading for electric-vehicle enthusiasts. One of the concerns Tesla raises is that the Environmental Protection Agency is looking at new ways to measure how far electric cars can go before they need to be recharged. The aim is to make the advertised range figures better reflect how people drive their cars in the real world. Some of the new test methods the EPA is considering could require electric-vehicle companies to reduce the advertised range of their vehicles by as much as 30%.

Indisputable Proof The Poor Have Gotten Richer, While The Rich Have Gotten Poorer
By Chuck Wolk,, July 15, 2010

Probably the most interesting aspect of their graph is what it says about the Socialists' belief that capitalism creates winners and losers. Or as Obama and his ilk claim, the economy is an unfair "zero sum game", and that is why they need to redistribute the wealth. Only problem is, the graph they use to justify the inequality of capitalism actually proves the opposite. Looking at the graph you will notice that each and every income bracket from the poor all the way to the ultra rich, have gained in their share of the stock market and wealth, from where they began in 1962.  So where are the losers of life's lottery then? Well, stick around and you will begin seeing them as the new regulations designed to destroy Wall Street begin to take hold. 

Sadly, many Americans have bought into the lies that it is only rich Wall Street investors who are going to be affected by these new regulations. Well it's time for Main Street to wake up and realize that the true target of Obama's wrath is them, the middle class.  It has taken almost a hundred years, but the communists learned in the early 1900's that the only way they can destroy America is to destroy the middle class. In the process they will gladly destroy the poor who have realized the greatest advancement in prosperity the world has ever seen, a prosperity that has outpaced that of the ultra rich by over 400% since 1962. All the while the left has convinced the economically ignorant Americans that they are only making the rich pay their fair share.

The Key to a Real Revolution
By Bruce Walker, American Thinker, July 15, 2010

Conservatives often blame elected Republicans for not producing revolutionary changes when in power. This frustration is understandable, but it is also wrongheaded. No political party can make revolutionary changes in American government unless that party not only controls the House of Representatives and the White House, but also, critically, has a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. …

In short, Republicans could produce a conservative revolution which achieves, in two short years, everything we have been seeking for the last fifty. All this would require great boldness and vision. But our nation needs just such a revolution. Half-measures and compromises simply prolong our slow death. We need a revolution. We have the means to that revolution within our grasp soon.

Obama Threatened by Tea Party
White House frets about coming Republican majority.
The Washington Times, July 12, 2010

Reality won a rare victory against the White House on Sunday when President Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, admitted that the November 2010 congressional elections will be a tough time for Democrats. "There's no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control," he said. "There's no doubt about that."

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