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True North Archives - August 03, 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

The Pitfalls of Municipally Owned Broadband
By Robert Maynard

In this week’s elsewhere section there is a Burlington Free Press article that covers the efforts to bring municipally owned broadband services to about 22 towns of Central Vermont. The project is known as the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network. Some watchers of this program have raised a red flag in noting that the person behind this project, Tim Nulty, is the same person behind the ill-fated Burlington Telecom project. By now most of our readers should be familiar with the problems associated with BT that left taxpayers on the hook for $17 million and counting. There is an argument over whether the problem of mismanagement should be left at the feet of Nulty or his successor. A question that has not been considered is whether municipally owned broadband services is a good idea to begin with. Perhaps we should be re-examining the concept itself, rather than trying to determine who to blame for mismanagement.

Toward that end, I would like to refer our readers to a study done in 2004 by the Heartland Institute entitled "Municipally Owned Broadband Networks: A Critical Evaluation". There was an update to the report which concluded: "This analysis, revised and updated to reflect national and local changes during the past two years, finds the case for municipal ownership of broadband networks is even weaker than it was then."

Here is a brief summary of the nine points expressed in the study...

Who Profits from Racism, Conservatives or Liberals?
By Rob Roper

No, what is truly disturbing are the tactics these so-called "mainstream" media types were willing to stoop to in order to fulfill their agenda. Specifically, the call by JournoList member Spencer Ackerman to, "take one of them [any conservative Obama critic] — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists," in order to distract attention away from negative stories about their preferred candidate.

There it is in black and white (no pun intended): the left playing the race card and consciously lying about it with no moral inhibitions whatsoever. Nice people, huh. At least the light of truth and transparency is now shining brightly on this practice and its perpetrators.

Beau Geste or Mal Geste?
By Martin Harris

Or maybe it simply proves the Progressives’ basic point of self-identification: that they are smarter than the rest of us, are therefore our natural-born leaders, and that we should be grateful for whatever they do even when we can’t comprehend why they’re doing it. If so, what I have mistakenly interpreted as a pair of "mal gestes" or political gotchas, should be accepted with suitable humility, each as a "beau geste" of noble intent, executed by a pair of noble institutions each acting as pater familias for us, their political children in constant need of adult supervision.

True North Radio Special
Listen to our recent program on Education with special guest Retta Dunlap. 

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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

The Campaign to Nowhere
From Vermont Tiger, July 31, 2010

These are times when voters and the people they elect actually will be confronting those famous "tough choices" we hear so much about.  In Vermont, the new governor and legislature will be faced with a budget deficit that is estimated to be more than $120 million.  For the last two years, the state has managed to balance its budget through a combination of modest spending cuts and massive doses of federal "stimulus" money.  The presumption was that fiscal reforms and economic recovery would put the state back on its feet so that it wouldn’t need additional handouts from Uncle Sugar.

Didn’t happen.

So now we are where we are and wondering what to do about it.

Nobody seems to know.  Or, anyone who does, isn’t talking.

Pilot program to bring high-speed internet to rural Vermont
By John Briggs, The Burlington free Press, July 27, 2010

Project Director Tim Nulty said the pilot would "prove our concept" of creating a high-speed Internet network for rural Vermonters, at no risk to taxpayers. Nulty has projected profitability for the network in its fifth year of operation, if 49 percent of the households in the 22 towns subscribe.

Nulty was general manager of Burlington Telecom from 2001 until November 2007. Burlington Chief Administrative Officer Jonathan Leopold has said BT was in serious financial difficulties by late 2007. A Blue Ribbon Commission said earlier this year that BT spent "far too much" on the construction of its network. BT's promise of self-sufficiency has never been met.

What Price Culturally Irreversible Sentimentality?
Caledonia Record Editorial, July 28, 2010

We were disappointed to hear that Brian Dubie, Republican candidate for governor, has climbed aboard Sens. Leahy and Sanders' latest plan to save Vermont's family dairy farms. We are disappointed because it won't work, and only a cynic in an election year would propose it.

Leahy and Sanders are pushing a plan to subsidize Vermont dairy farmers for not producing milk. As old timers say, if you wait long enough, what went around will go around again. This is one of those times. Way back in the 1950s, the federal government paid farmers not to grow wheat because we had mountains of surplus wheat throughout the mid-west and prairie states. Whatever went wrong, as long as the subsidies for not growing wheat continued, the mountains of surplus grew higher.

Vermont Candidate for U.S. Senate Hits Trails to Campaign
From Fox 44 News, July 22 2010

The campaign trail can lead candidates to all sorts of places, including actual trails.

"I'm here today to go up and take a look at things, and to talk about the environment to family, friends and supporters, and whoever we meet along the trail," said Len Britton.

Britton is the Republican challenging Senator Patrick Leahy for his seat this November.  He chose the Burrows trail up Camels Hump for the backdrop to announce his vision for policies on energy and the environment.

Dumping at Salvation Army Wasting Precious Dollars
From Fox News 44, July 26, 2010

I bet you never thought you could do harm by dropping off things at the Salvation Army, but sadly that's the reality the group is dealing with.

A few weeks ago, the Burlington organization closed their storage warehouse, but people are still using it as a drop off.

"Most of the things people are leaving there are not items we can sell, so we have to pay to have them disposed of," said Chuck Bongiorno, development director at the Burlington Salvation Army.

He's asking people to stop because it's costing them up to $100 each month. Money that could be used somewhere else.

Not So Fine
By Art Woolf, The Vermont Tiger, July 29, 2010

A major organization in Vermont, with hundreds of well-paid employees, is fined $420,000 by the federal government for allowing its employees to be exposed to deadly hazards. Another example of an organization that should be shut down for safety reasons?

Not unless you don't want to receive your mail any more.  The fine wasn't levied on Vermont Yankee.  It was levied on the U.S. Postal Service's White River Junction processing facility.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Analysis: Al Qaeda Maintains an Extensive Network in Afghanistan
By Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, July 29, 2010

On May 21 there was a suicide attack in Paktia province in Afghanistan that was initially claimed by the Taliban, but was later traced back to al Qaeda. The facts surrounding that strike and others, as well as information gleaned from US military press releases, paint a picture of al Qaeda that contradicts recent statements by top US intelligence officials who estimated al Qaeda's strength in Afghanistan as being limited to between 50 and 100 operatives.

The Brothel Named Iran
By Michael Ledeen, Pajamas Media, July 26, 2010

Rulers of the Islamic Republic are looking more and more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, and Banafsheh uncovered a document that should cause them considerable embarrassment. It’s a flyer, recruiting virgin women for prostitution in a brothel located in the holiest site of one of the two holiest cities in Iran: the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad. You might wish to read the whole thing—it includes going rates—but here’s the essence of it:

"In order to elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of  our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.

To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us."

It’s a religious thing, you see.

To me, this is a perfect symbol of the Islamic Republic: even the holiest places have been corrupted and turned into brothels and charnel houses. Degradation is the common denominator of Iranian life, and the women, starting at age 12, are its most common victims.

Palestinian Corruption and 'Humanitarian Aid'
By Eileen F. Toplansky, American Thinker, August 2, 2010

For more than a quarter of a century, the United Nations has "extended fake mercy to Palestinians at the expense of Jews" and the world at large. The persistence of so-called refugee camps testifies to the world's failure to integrate people and make their lives meaningful.  Thus, the end result has been a creation of vast slums and terrorist training camps where hatred consumes generations of human beings. 

In 2009 Joel Mowbray wrote that the "State Department still cannot ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not subsidizing terrorists or underwriting terrorist propaganda in schools across the West Bank and Gaza.  Comforting, isn't it?

In fact, President Obama recently sat for a White House photo-op with the Palestinian Authority's leader and then announced a $400 million aid package for the West Bank and Gaza.  The editorial staff of Investors Business Daily wondered why "the U.S. should be supporting a regime that so far this year has fired 370 lethal rockets into Israel, that still refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and that has made a cottage industry of teaching children to hate."

An Ayatollah Condemns an Unjust Ruler
Iranian Reform and Stagnation
From the Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2010

Ayatollah Husayn-'Ali Montazeri (1922-2009) was a Shi'i cleric of very high status, a leading figure in the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the man originally designated as the heir apparent to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's first supreme leader. Like Khomeini, he was an exponent of the Islamic state. Montazeri subsequently fell out of favor with Khomeini over issues related to the regime's abuse of human rights (including women's rights) and democracy, was stripped of his titles, and demoted. Until 2003, he lived under house arrest in Qom where he acquired a reputation as a relatively liberal cleric associated with the reformist opposition. In the course of the protests that took place in Iran following the June 12, 2009 presidential elections, he wrote several remarkable fatwas (religious rulings) in reply to questions from another progressive cleric, Mohsen Kadivar. In these fatwas, he speaks in support of the protesters who challenge the Islamic regime (which he considered unjust) and declares Iran's supreme leader Sayyed 'Ali Khamenei to be illegitimate. Elsewhere, he has written of his own error in supporting Ayatollah Khomeini's doctrine of velayat-e faqih, that urges the rule of a single, supreme cleric (such as Khomeini and his successor Khamenei). Such rulings are of profound importance in lending legitimacy to the forces of reform in Iran. Ayatollah Montazeri died on December 19, 2009, in the clerical city of Qom. 

Brave Russian Dissident Ignored by Obama White House
By Kim Zigfeld, American Thinker, August 1, 2010

A brave soul speaking truth to power in Russia was just arrested for blowing the lid off corruption there. But President Obama is not lifting a finger to help democracy and liberty take root in Russian soil.  Two years ago, I wrote about an academic treatise produced by former Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov.  It was an eye-opener for the entire world.  But not, it seems, for President Obama.

In meticulously documented fashion, Nemtsov undertook to review the performance of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia, as Putin's first two terms in office were coming to an end.  Across the board, Nemtsov found stunning failure combined with horrifying anti-democratic moves to conceal that failure from the general public.

It’s About Sharia
Newt Gingrich resets our national-security debate
By Andrew McCarthy, National Review, July 21, 2010

The 2010 midterms have not happened yet, but the 2012 campaign is under way. For that we can thank Newt Gingrich. Not because Gingrich is a candidate, though he almost certainly is. And not because he can win, because that is by no means certain. We should thank Gingrich because he has crystallized the essence of our national-security challenge. Henceforth, there should be no place to hide for any candidate, including any incumbent. The question will be: Where do you stand on sharia?

The former speaker of the House gets the war on terror. For one thing, he refuses to call it the "war on terror," which should be the entry-level requirement for any politician who wants to influence how we wage it. Gingrich grasps that there is an enemy here and that it is a mortal threat to freedom. He knows that if we are to remain a free people, it is an enemy we must defeat. That enemy is Islamism, and its operatives — whether they come as terrorists or stealth saboteurs — are the purveyors of sharia, Islam’s authoritarian legal and political system.

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From Elsewhere

Poison Pill: The New Senate Energy Bill
By Brian Sussman, American Thinker, August 2, 2010

The latest Senate energy bill, quietly unveiled last week, looks like sweet compromise on radical measures like cap and trade, but buried within is a bitter poison pill that will could be swallowed in a vote that may come this week.

Lutheran World Federation Misses the Mark on Work and Wealth
By Jordan Ballor, Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, July 28, 2010

The problem with the social witness of the LWF and the broader ecumenical movement is not simply that it addresses problems like hunger or poverty. It is, instead, the way in which it has done so, as typified in the recent Stuttgart meeting. Here we saw statements decrying "illegitimate debt," the privileging of "profits over people," and in the words of LWF general secretary Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, "the gap between those who do not have enough to eat and those who have far more than they need." But beyond this kind of activist jingoism, or pietistic bewailing, there was precious little in terms of helpful analysis of the complex realities of a globalized world.

Rather than engage in the difficult work of providing a coherent and normative basis for responsible social proclamation, the LWF preferred instead -- as is so often the case in the deliberations of mainline ecumenical groups -- to point to "neoliberal globalization" as the structural injustice causing extreme poverty in the world. The missing element in the LWF’s poverty discussions, most recently at the General Assembly, has been a nuanced and comprehensive valuation of the role of creative work and entrepreneurship in the creation of material wealth. The social witness of ecumenical groups like the LWF have, for the better part of the past 50 years, consistently undermined work and labor as God’s order of blessings to provide material sustenance for humankind.

Paul Ryan says he’s trying to provide leadership for "decentralized" GOP
By Jon Ward, The Daily Caller, July 27, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan, the fast-talking, number-crunching Republican from Wisconsin, caused a stir last week when he called out his own party for not offering Americans a substantive alternative to Democrats in this fall’s elections.

"They’re talking to their pollsters and their pollsters are saying, ‘Stay away from this. We’re going to win an election,’" Ryan said, speaking at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.

Ryan, in the second of back-to-back high profile speeches touting his "Road Map" plan that proposes to make long-term entitlement spending solvent, lumped Republicans in with Democrats as having failed to talk seriously about the nation’s debt and deficit problem.

Minimize It, Don’t Supersize It
The voters want supersized government put on a crash diet.
By Michael Barone, National Review, August 2, 2010

Let’s put government on a diet. That’s what voters seem to be saying in response to the Barack Obama Democrats’ vast expansion of the size and scope of government.??

Evidence comes from pollster Scott Rasmussen. He asked likely voters — his usual sample, which tilts more Republican than all adults — whether increased government spending is good or bad for the economy.

The results were unambiguous. Good for the country? Twenty-eight percent. Bad for the country? Fifty-two percent.

A New War Between the States
By Joel Kotkin Forbes Magazine, July 27, 2010

Nearly a century and half since the United States last divided, a new "irrepressible conflict" is brewing between the states. It revolves around the expansion of federal power at the expense of state and local prerogatives. It also reflects a growing economic divide, arguably more important than the much discussed ideological one, between very different regional economies.

This conflict could grow in the coming years, particularly as the Obama administration seeks to impose a singular federal will against a generally more conservative set of state governments. The likely election of a more center-right Congress will exacerbate the problem. We may enter a golden age of critical court decisions over the true extent of federal or executive power.

Some states are already challenging the constitutionality of the Obama health care program. Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona joined a suit on March 23 by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to overturn the law. And Arizona's right to make its own pre-immigration regulations has gained support from nine other states: Texas, Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Michigan and Virginia.

The Cure for Political Dejection
By Quin Hillyer, The American Spectator, July 29, 2010

What are you going to do about all this? What do you want to see happen? How much do you care about your country and your community?

If you are reading this, the answer to the questions in the last sentence is probably "one heck of a lot." You care. You have aspirations for communities of freedom and comity. You want to stop all of these political horrors, and you want to stop cultural horrors not even touched upon here but that could take pages and pages of exposition. You want to believe in America. And, dare we say it without sounding too pie-in-the-sky, you want to do what Ronald Reagan said all good Americans want to do: "to dream heroic dreams." And to work to make them reality.

So get to it. Keep up your activism. Talk to your neighbors. Volunteer at campaign headquarters. Contribute financially to candidates. Make phone calls. Go to rallies. Write thoughtful and concise letters to the editor. Help register like-minded voters. Drive elderly or infirm like-minded voters to the polls in November.

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