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True North Archives - September 08, 2009
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

Imagining Vermont
By John McClaughry

The watchwords seem to be collective action, unity with diversity, civility, affordability, sustainability, creativity and the public good. Nowhere is there any inclination to laud the bold, visionary, risk-taking entrepreneur - a James Hartness, Horace and Erastus Fairbanks, T.N. Vail, or (more recently), Rich Tarrant. Such people produce disruption, not harmony - but in doing so they create wealth, spur human progress and, in Vermont, pay the lion's share of taxes....

The Council shows no evidence of recognizing the fundamental importance of secure, predictable private property rights to economic growth and development, and that the more intense planning it proposes cannot but further undermine that right.

One Door Closes, Many Others Open

By Rob Roper

While we will certainly miss having Governor Douglas' at the top our ticket, we are by nature an optimistic Party. We look forward not backward, and we see the opportunities that lie before us.
                     

Exorcising the Signature Roof
By Martin Harris

Now, the hostility to roads and private vehicles is quantifiable, and the self-appointed opinion-shapers want all their subjects to live a in smart-growth relatively-high-density New Urbanism, shed their cars, and ride municipal light rail when they’re not bicycling their groceries home from a non-big-box organic food store. By the time the Interstate and Defense Highway System went into actual design in 1956, the enemies, like Keats, were becoming rhetorically literal, opposing both rural alignments (think the White-River-to-Burlington I-89 corridor) and urban alignments (think the notorious brain-child of highway-builder-du-jour Robert Moses, the South Bronx Expressway) both put through, over substantial resistance, in the early 60’s. And today, consider the Circ...

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Quotable
" It is bad policy to fear the resentment of an enemy."

--Response by Ethan Allen, refusing instructions by a timid Continental Congress to move war material captured from the British to a place of safe keeping until it could be returned; as quoted in "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!" - American Heritage magazine Vol. 14, Issue 6 (October 1963)

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This Week’s Mail Bag

"A message to our political leadership from True North listeners"


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Dominic Ladue
Ladue's Taxi

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Making our voices heard for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I saw in the news recently that unwanted male chicks are ground up alive. Animal rights groups are calling for warnings on egg cartons, for an investigation, and for a change to adopt a vegan diet. The animal rights groups are outraged at this violence and say that consumers have a right to know about this cruelty so that they can make informed and compassionate purchasing decisions. WOW! But, where is the outrage over the killing of 50,242,480 babies by surgical abortion since 1973 in the United States? Some feel we need warnings on egg cartons for an informed and compassionate purchasing decision, but many feel that parental notification is not deemed necessary before a minor gets an abortion or that ultrasounds be mandatory before an abortion. Are "purchasing decisions" more important than the health and well-being of women? Surgical abortions include partial birth abortions. Research on the internet to see the brutality of partial birth abortion on a live human being, if you dare. Find out about Post Abortion Syndrome and the negative consequences of abortion. If you do not have access to the internet, information can be obtained from Vermont Right to Life Committee. Do some research on John Holdren, Doctor Zeke Emmanuel, and Cass Sunstein. These three men are key players in Obama’s "health-care" reform. Holdren co-authored a college textbook called "Ecoscience" in which he advanced the idea that forced abortion and sterilization of women is justifiable under the United States Constitution, and that sterilizing agents could be added to the drinking water in order to curb the growth of human populations. Dr. Emmanuel raises the possibility of a new ethical system that would ration care away from the elderly, away from infants, and away from human beings judged unable to rationally participate in society, in favor of those aged 15-44, who have the best chance "to live a complete life." Sunstein advocates rationing of healthcare based on "quality-adjusted life years," meaning that the government would evaluate statistically whether a person’s life is worth the cost of living. Sunstein is also a radical animal rights thinker, who believes that animals such as dolphins and whales should have legal representation. Sunstein counts Princeton philosopher Peter Singer among his closest friends. Singer believes that children under the age of seven do not have sufficient rationality to count as human beings, and for that reason parents could commit infanticide. All these assaults on human life are being put into place right under our noses. We must make our voices be heard for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Mrs. Kathleen Grange
21 Meadow Wood Drive, Graniteville, VT 05654

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

A Perfect Storm Brewing
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 5, 2009

Washington, President Barack Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress have created a storm of new federal spending and sweeping new legislation that will generate tidal waves of red ink the likes of which the American public has never seen.

In Vermont, the governor's office is up for grabs and if Vermonters elect any one of the current crop of Democratic gubernatorial candidates, that person coupled with an overwhelming majority of Democrats in the Legislature will create a perfect storm. Out of control spending, ruinous debt, soaring taxes and a devastated business economy will leave Vermonters with an aftermath that may take generations to clean up.

War Of The Spheres (cont.)
From Vermont Tiger, September 3, 2009

As we have noted before, many of the most ferocious struggles seems to be contests between the private and public sector. Who gets the money and the power, the bureaucrats and the politicians or the people who pay the taxes in return for ... promises, mostly.

Tax Spat Highlights Need for Change
By Patrick McArdle, Rutland Herald, September 6, 2009

For more than a month, Stratton and the state have been at a standoff over issues of what it means to do a town-wide reappraisal, but two local Republican legislators say the dispute highlights what could be an unavoidable problem for education funding in the state.

Rep. Richard Hube, who represents towns in Bennington, Windham and Windsor counties, including Stratton, said Vermonters are going to have to give serious thought to school budgets.

"We have a problem on our hands. So much of the running up of education budgets has been funded by the running up of property values. We're in a different place in that cycle now. Those property values are not going to be there anymore and the revenue is going to erode. The only way to sustain runaway spending has been with runaway property values," he said.

May This House be Safe From Tigers
Caledonia Record Editorial, September 3, 2009

Let's try that again. The committee did not find any evidence of racially biased behavior, mind you, so they decided to warn against the possibility of its occurring sometime, somewhere in Vermont. It almost seems that the committee was disappointed not to find what they were sure was there, and having the pre-determined mindset that we have to protect ourselves from it, even if what we looked for wasn't there, they decided to show us how to avoid what wasn't there.

Too Much? Not Enough?
From Vermont Tiger, September 4, 2009

No doubt we'll hear a lot about how this is an example of how health care spending is out of control, busting employers' budgets, etc.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Fogel has a different perspective:

The main factor [driving health care costs] is that the long-term income elasticity of the demand for healthcare is 1.6—for every 1 percent increase in a family’s income, the family wants to increase its expenditures on healthcare by 1.6 percent. …
Regulations Draw Complaints
Some Woodstock Businesses Say Zoning Laws Are Unfairly Enforced
By John Woodrow Cox, Valley News, September 6, 2009

Many object to Woodstock's "grandfathered" zoning regulations, which create different rules for different businesses, based on how long they've been open. A "grandfathered" business is one opened under old zoning laws that operated under those laws -- even if newer businesses have to comply with newer, stricter, regulations.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Arab Official: Hezbollah Expanding Global Operations
By Erick Stakelbeck, September 2, 2009

I had a fascinating, one-on-one meeting last week with an Arab government official who has a keen sense of the threat environment in the Middle East and North Africa. Here is some of what he shared with me:

1) Hezbollah is expanding its reach worldwide and is gearing up "for something big." This Arab official believes the group is actively seeking a biological/chemical weapons capability, and there is little doubt who would be helping them in that regard: Iran and Syria. He believes Hezbollah is a well-organized, well-funded machine capable of doing great damage both conventionally (missile barrages into Israeli cities) and unconventionally (terror attacks against Israeli, U.S. and moderate Arab interests worldwide). Or, as he described the group, "Bad guys with good strategic vision."

"You're going to be reporting a lot on Hezbollah in the future," he told me. "They already have people on the ground in Europe and elsewhere. They will be making front page news soon. They are just waiting for the orders to act – they are not in a hurry."

Afghanistan: Back from the brink?
From BBC News, September 2, 2009

I was in Kabul in March 2001 when the Taliban blew up the two 2nd Century Buddha statues carved into a mountainside in central Bamyan province. I remember the gloom, and even despair, it caused among some of the Taliban's own mid-ranking officials.

I thought things had slid past the point of no return.But then came hope, disguised as an ostensibly unpopular decision of the United States to attack the country and expel the Taliban.

Islamists Dodge Real Debate on Terminology
By Sid Shahid, Islamist Watch, September 2, 2009

At the core of the post-9/11 "war of ideas" is the battle over terminology. It would seem that Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser struck a nerve with the powers that be at CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) when he took the Obama administration to task for its abandonment of the phrase "war on terror" and its myopic focus on al-Qaeda, rather than the broader ideology behind it. In that criticism Dr. Jasser states:

Acts of terror are rooted in the aspirations of Islamists to create an Islamic state and impose their version of Shariah law. …

Al-Qaeda had nothing to do with the string of radical Islamists arrested across the country — from North Carolina to New York, Oregon, and New Jersey (to name but a few) — in the last year alone. The only thing these radicals have in common is their belief in a militant version of political Islam. …

Japanese Election Poses Challenges for U.S. Alliance
By Bruce Klingner, Heritage Foundation, August 31 2009

The degree of change that the DPJ victory will bring to Japan's foreign policy remains in doubt. DPJ security policy pronouncements were vague and contradictory as the party toned down its earlier positions in the run-up to the election. Japan's inherent political constraints, anemic defense funding, and societal apathy will continue to hinder any prime minister's ability to significantly alter course.

But it is clear that the DPJ will be less willing to fulfill existing bilateral U.S. force realignment agreements and more resistant to Washington's requests for Japan to expand its overseas security role. A poll of DPJ candidates taken on the eve of the election revealed that only a minority support U.S. security objectives such as dispatching Japanese forces to Afghanistan, continuing refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, and altering Japan's collective self-defense guidelines to allow for a more robust overseas defense role. More DPJ candidates favored shifting Japan's emphasis to Asia over placing a greater focus on the U.S.-Japanese alliance.

A Call to New Resolve?
By Amil Imani, New Media Journal, August 29, 2009

Unlike anything encountered in recent memory, the formidably complex and unique situation present in today’s Iran poses an enormous challenge. It defies any conventional solution, and simply resorting to civil disobedience is the equivalent of fighting off a pack of hungry and blood-thirsty wolves with tooth-picks! The incredibly ruthless, deceptive, and cunning nature of the present regime, bundled together with an Islamic modus operandi, creates an enigma and a number of paradoxes.

Why Islamists Accuse Moderate Muslims of Apostasy
By David J. Rusin,  Islamist Watch, August 31, 2009

The ongoing saga of Rifqa Bary — the teenager who fled from Ohio to Florida, citing fears that her Muslim parents would murder her for becoming a Christian — has underlined the dangers associated with leaving Islam. A 2008 Islamist Watch article summarizes the problem:

All major schools of Islamic jurisprudence stipulate that a sane adult male must be put to death for abandoning Islam, though varying interpretations persist on whether females should be killed or merely imprisoned. Many Islamic states outlaw apostasy and seven list it as a capital offense. However, freelancers such as angry relatives present the greatest danger to ex-Muslims, as Sunni and Shiite scholars largely agree that Shari'a empowers individuals to punish converts. This tradition has followed Muslims to the Western world.
A related menace is that Islamists often employ accusations of apostasy as weapons against moderate Muslims. Given the perils faced by converts from Islam, such charges are meant to intimidate anti-Islamist Muslims into silence — or worse.

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From Elsewhere

Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: What Tocqueville Teaches Today
By Paul Rahe, James W. Ceaser, Ph.D. and Thomas G. West, Heritage Foundation, September 2, 2009

If we are ever to put a stop to the advance of the administrative state or even roll it back, if we are ever to recover the liberty that once was ours and reassert our dignity as citizens rather than as clients and as subjects, we must first come to understand what it is that has occasioned central administrations' seemingly inexorable march. Here, I would argue, Alexis de Tocqueville, who died 150 years ago today, on 16 April 1859, is our best guide, for what he feared with regard to his native France is increasingly true for the United States.

We have contracted the "French disease." To an ever-increasing degree, our compatriots are subject to what Tocqueville described as "an immense tutelary power which takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate."[1] As he predicted, this power is "absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident and gentle," and it "works willingly for their happiness, it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their testaments, divides their inheritances." It is entirely proper to ask whether it can "relieve them entirely of the trouble of thinking and of the effort associated with living," for such is evidently its aim.

Too Much Government Makes Us Sick
By Anthony B. Bradley Ph.D., Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, September 2, 2009

While Congress is busy working on health care reform, policy-makers are reluctant to admit that many of our nation’s health problems are linked to practices subsidized by taxpayers. An American diet heavily dependent on corn and corn-derivatives is linked to obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II-Diabetes, constipation, joint pain, and other ailments. The tragic irony is that government subsidizes the low-cost production of the corn-based, unhealthy foods that make many people sick. Now the Obama administration wants to give these same policy-makers responsibility for our health care.

According to the Environmental Workers Group, corn subsidies in the United States totaled $56.2 billion from 1995-2006. This government intervention has encouraged the widespread use of corn syrup as a sweetener in many manufactured foods. Yet many of the unhealthiest foods are those with the highest levels of high-fructose corn syrup. In effect, government subsidies have made unhealthy foods extremely cheap to produce. Corn syrup is now found in an unbelievable number of products ranging from salad dressing to hot dogs.

A History of America’s Nuclear Power Experience: Part Two
By Jay Lehr, Ph.D., Environment & Climate News, September, 2009

In strict physical terms, there is no such thing as nuclear waste. Using a resource does not automatically turn it into waste. As environmentalists have long taught us, pollution is really just resources out of place.

The by-products of nuclear fission are so incredibly compact and potentially useful, none of them need to be thrown away. They are sitting there waiting to be processed. Almost 100 percent of the material in spent nuclear fuel rods can be recycled as useful material, and it is being done in other parts of the world today.

The very small amounts of material that cannot be reprocessed economically today can be stored safely until it becomes financially feasible in the future. There truly is no such thing as nuclear waste.

Hey Conservatives, We’re Recovering
Even while Obamanomics looms.
By Larry Kudlow, National Review, September 1, 2009

While so-called spending-and-deficit stimulus may be an economic depressant, Friedmanite monetary stimulus — which has been substantial — is gradually exerting a powerful impact on economic growth. At the same time, businesses have become lean and mean, with radical cost-cutting of inventories, employment, and hours worked. That’s setting up a big profits surge, which is the biggest economic stimulus of all.

Consumers also have retrenched, as is appropriate with falling home prices, a rough stock market correction, and a slowdown of incomes. But from the ashes of recession, these corrective forces lead to the next recovery.

In Hayekian and Misesean terms, bad investment and spending decisions are being remedied through the free-market corrective process. And, greased by easy money, today’s market correctives may produce a much stronger V-shaped recovery than the stock-market consensus expects.

Spain's Solar-Power Collapse Dims Subsidy Model
By Angel Gonzalez and Keith Johnson, The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2009

Spain's hopes of becoming a world leader in solar power have collapsed since the Spanish government slammed the brakes on generous subsidies. The sudden change has rippled across the global solar industry, in a warning of the problems that government-supported renewable-energy programs can encounter.

The Coming Reset in State Government
My fellow governors and I are likely facing a permanent reduction in tax revenues.
By Mitch Daniels, The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2009

The "progressive" states that built their enormous public burdens by soaking the wealthy will hit the wall first and hardest. California, which extracts more than half its income taxes from a fraction of 1% of its citizens, is extreme but hardly alone in its overreliance on a few, highly mobile taxpayers. Both individuals and businesses are fleeing soak-the-rich states already. Those who remain in high-tax states will be making few if any capital gains tax payments in the years to come. Even if the stock market comes roaring back to life, the best it could do is speed the deduction of recent losses.

Sadly, the political impulse to protect government largess leads many states to aggravate their dilemma. Already more than half have raised taxes, often on businesses, serving only to chase them and their tax payments away and into the open arms of states like Indiana. Our traffic flow of interested investors is as heavy as it was in 2007. Since January we have welcomed the consolidation of more than 30 firms that closed up shop elsewhere and chose us as the low-cost, enterprise-friendly environment among their current locations.

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