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True North Archives - October 06, 2010
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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

john McClaughryUniversal Preschooling: The Liberal Grand Slam
ByJohn McClaughry

"Universal access to early education" has become a major liberal campaign promise this year. This goal, if achieved, will culminate a ten year campaign by large businesses, child advocacy groups, the teachers union, and social service agencies to put the state in charge of the lives of all 3– and 4–year olds not already so favored.

BrianDubie vs. Peter Shumlin
By Sharon Toborg

(*As Lt. Governor, Brian Dubie led the effort to bring Vermont in line with 46 other states that had already enacted laws offering such protection for newborn babies whose mothers are in distress after recently giving birth, allowing them to drop their babies off at designated places referred to as “Safe Havens.”) …

Peter Shumlin supports unrestricted abortion throughout the entire nine months of a woman’s pregnancy including the gruesome late–term partial–birth abortion procedure.

Inconvenient History: the Cochrane Treadmill
By Martin Harris

Martin Harris photoAs for the Cochrane Treadmill itself, the history of American agriculture illustrates the readiness of farmers to embrace innovative technology, much of which was publicly funded and furnished by land–grant–college research for the express purpose of increasing commodity supply to a chronic oversupply level and reducing consumer food cost. It’s why corn, which averaged less than 40 bushels per acre in the ‘50’s, now averages close to 190. It’s also why milk, which retailed at $1/gallon then, and should be, adjusted for inflation, at $8.35 now, isn’t, so that milk production was profitable then and isn’t now. Whether the ADB will avoid the basic economic quandary of American agriculture in general or Vermont agriculture in particular ––no other sector of American industry has functioned at a loss for so long and stayed in business–or, instead, will choose to focus on such “innovations” as farmers’ markets and localvores, remains to be seen. When the news article reports that a new government office, the Agriculture Development Board, will ”…provide Vermont with a planning mechanism that can carry agricultural interests forward”, I’d guess that the latter problem–evading strategy will dominate.

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"It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones."

– Calvin Coolidge

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Subtle changes in Vermont revealed in new Census estimate
By Matt Sutkoski The Burlington Free Press, October 2 2010

Median household income in Vermont fell between 2008 and 2009, according to the data, from $52,104 to $51,618, according to the estimates. The data show the number of Vermont households with an income of $200,000 or greater fell by about 500 to 6,198. …

In other data from the American Community Survey, the number of married people in Vermont is slowly declining, from 53.3 percent in 2008 to 51.9 percent in 2009. The number of people in Vermont who have never married is slowly rising, from 31.5 percent in 2008 to 34.7 percent in 2009.

The number of households in Vermont with people under the age of 18 continues to decline, while the number of households with people over the age of 65 is still going up.

Always A Lot of Smoke, But Never a Fire?
Caledonia Record, October 2 2010

Peter Shumlin, Democratic candidate for governor, very often is surrounded by clouds of ethical smoke. According to him, there is never a fire. Here are three recent incidents:

Read More.

It's Warming Because I Say So
By John McClaughry Vermont Tiger, October 1, 2010

The Free Press recently (9/26/10) asked the leading state candidates “do you believe that human–induced climate change is a reality?”

This is a dumb question. The question actually should have been, “do you believe that human activity induces any detectable change in the earth’s climate, and if so, does that change make the planet  better or worse, from a human standpoint?”

The scientifically correct answer, in light of what we now know, is “No, human activity has no detectable effect on the planet’s climate, but on balance a warmer planet is better for humans than a colder planet.”

Democratic candidate for Governor Peter Shumlin, however, declared “The evidence is overwhelming. Any other conclusion is simply irresponsible.”

Vermont Governor Candidates Debate Nuclear Plant's Future
Fox 44 News, October 1 2010

A debate billed as a discussion on Vermont's energy needs in Burlington quickly focused on Vermont Yankee.

Republican candidate Brian Dubie told the crowd of more than 200 people that he wants to see the Vernon nuclear power plant's operating license renewed past 2012.

"My campaign is about growing jobs, growing opportunity," said Dubie.

Democrat Peter Shumlin repeatedly explained why he does not.

Getting Out of Dodge
Vermont Tiger, October 1 2010

You wonder, sometimes, why we pay these people.

Normally, when Congress adjourns and leaves Washington, one feels a sense of relief. But this time, the Lords and Ladies of the National Legislature could not accomplish the minimal, but necessary, task of writing a budget. Which means they cannot account with any precision for how all the money Washington receives through taxes and borrowing will be spent. You, however, are still required to send in the money. Be sure of that. …

We can assure Senators Leahy and Sanders and Representative Welch that there isn't anything going on back here in Vermont that requires their presence. And if they have something important that they really must communicate to us, e–mail would be fine.

2009 Vermont Crime Report
By Rachel Kent Fox 44 News, Sep 27, 2010

Here's the good news first, the Vermont Criminal Information Center says in 2009 property crime dropped from the year before, despite the slumping economy. That means there was a decrease in burglary, larceny and theft.

And now for the bad news; the center says there was a spike in shoplifting. Shoplifting is up nearly 30%. The main target is department stores.

What's worse, there were more violent crimes in 2009. Robberies rose more than 25% from 89 to 112 cases.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

In the Footsteps of the Kaiser: China Boosts US Power in Asia
by Walter Russell Mead American Interest, September 26 2010

Beijing’s recent missteps in Asia – moving ahead with reactor sales to troubled Pakistan and crudely threatening Japan over the arrest of a Chinese fishing captain – are swiftly solidifying America’s Asian alliances.  The new Japanese government came into office hoping to rebalance Japan’s foreign policy and reduce tensions with China. That dream is now dead. And China’s deepening relationship with Pakistan, intended in part as a counter to America’s nuclear opening to India, is driving Asia’s other emerging nuclear power closer than ever into the arms of America (and Japan). South Korea, once drifting peacefully toward China, has moved back towards the United States following China’s support for Pyongyang after the sinking of a South Korean naval boat.

German Freedom and the Enduring Danger of Socialism
by Kevin E. Schmiesing Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, September 29 2010

Yet, in ringing contradiction to the apocalyptic claims of some, history did not end in 1990. The choice laid before societies–freedom or serfdom–remains. The “anthropological error” at the heart of socialism, as Pope John Paul II described it, has not disappeared. Many who hold positions of power still believe “that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil” (Centesimus Annus, n. 13). A society’s political and economic structure will permit to greater or lesser degree the self-determination of its citizens. Human beings will grasp and act upon their responsibilities in ways that respect who they are as human persons; or they will gradually sacrifice their freedom and its attendant obligations in return for an existence characterized by moral decadence, lassitude, and mistrust.

Nations continue to move in both directions. Since 1990, China has inched toward liberty, though the Party’s unyielding hold on religious and intellectual control keeps its successful transition to freedom in doubt. Even that historic citadel of Communism, Cuba, has begun breaking free of its socialist chains: Earlier this month, the government announced the layoffs of a half-million of its employees, the island’s “biggest shift to the private sector since the 1960s.”

Meanwhile, the American state expands mercilessly, hedging our lives with a forest of restrictions so dense that it is almost impossible to know and follow the rule of law to which we still pay lip service. Unwillingness to abandon any program, no matter how wasteful or ineffective, expedites the mounting of public debt to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. Polling suggests that younger Americans, oblivious to the historical record, are developing increasingly positive views of socialism. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, the United States and Cuba may pass each other going opposite directions, the latter lifting toward freedom and prosperity while the former falls into collectivist decay. Unbelievable? So was the reunification of a democratic Germany, just before it happened.

The Iranian Mess
By Dr. Michael Ledeen Family Security Matters, September 29 2010

You may recall that the green leaders feared they would be arrested when Ahmadinejad returns from his boffo performance at the United Nations, and in order to impress the leadership with the strength of their mass following, they called on the people to chant every night from their rooftops.  The chants of “Allah o Akbar” and “Death to the Dictator” have been very loud, and Mousavi and Karroubi have hammered away at the illegitimacy of the regime.  Will the regime risk an open confrontation with millions of their own people? And if it does, how will the people respond? Nobody really knows, and in all likelihood there is a lot of heated rhetoric in the corridors of power at this very moment, between those who fear that a direct move against Mousavi and Karroubi would result in a very violent civil war, and those who fear that failure to move would produce the implosion of the regime.

The English Defense League: The New Face of Europe?
By A. Millar NY Hudson New York, September 22, 2010

A group of extremist Islamists attacked the returning soldiers as "butchers of Basra," "baby killers," and "terrorists" during a homecoming parade not long ago in the city of Luton. With years of anti-British "political correctness," and a political class that has failed to tackle Islamism with seriousness, this proved to be too much: the crowd that had turned out to cheer on the soldiers was soon making their disgust known to the Islamists; the two groups had to be held apart by police. Within a few days, a video was floating around the internet, showing the aftermath: calling themselves the "United People of Luton," thousands of (mostly) young men had taken to the streets in a rowdy, and chaotic show of anger and frustration, chanting "no surrender to the Taliban," "we are Luton," and, directed at the Islamists, "scum."

A short time later, the English Defense League [EDL] emerged from the United People of Luton, and, in a little over the year since its founding, has become the largest street protest movement in Britain.

The EDL has also inspired the recent establishment of independent leagues in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and other EU states; the movement is attracting international attention – including from the Israeli-based Haaretz and the US-based Dissent.

Sweden’s Quiet Revolution
Without much fanfare, the Scandinavian country has been moving away from socialism. 
By DUNCAN CURRIE National Review Online, September 30 2010

There is something about Sweden that provokes a mix of envy, horror, and bewilderment among American observers. Liberals have traditionally celebrated its cradle-to-grave safety net, while conservatives have disparaged its high taxes and centralized health-care regime. Yet both groups have generally agreed that Swedish-style socialism is a far cry from rough-and-tumble U.S. capitalism.

In fact, contemporary Sweden is much less socialist than many Americans realize. Since the early 1990s, when it suffered a painful financial crisis, the Scandinavian country has deregulated key industries (such as airlines, telecommunications, and electricity), lowered its overall tax burden, established universal school vouchers, partially privatized its pension system, abolished certain government monopolies, sold a number of state-owned enterprises (including the parent company of Absolut vodka), and trimmed public spending. Several years ago, it eliminated gift and inheritance taxes. The World Economic Forum now ranks Sweden as the second-most competitive economy on earth, behind only Switzerland. According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom (compiled by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation), Sweden offers greater business freedom, trade freedom, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and property-rights protection than does the United States.

U.S., Lead or Get out of the Way 
The current drift in foreign policy could be disastrous.
By CONRAD BLACK The National Review Online, September 30 2010

At the crossroads the Middle East is approaching – in the Iranian nuclear program, the Afghan War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the internal political evolution in Pakistan, Iraq, and Turkey – there is a confusing glimpse of what the world’s most turbulent region looks like as American influence conducts an orderly retreat. All present indications are that the Obama administration is not prepared to interdict militarily the Iranian acquisition of a deliverable nuclear military capability, and also lacks the political muscle or ingenuity to persuade the necessary powers of the virtues of what Secretary Clinton boldly described in more purposeful recent times as “crippling sanctions.”

President Obama has muddied the waters with a lot of hopeful but rather vapid talk of nuclear disarmament, which the Russians are prepared to join in as long as it reduces American nuclear superiority, but not further; and to which no other present or imminent nuclear power will accord the slightest credence. Since not even this administration has so far succumbed to the lunacy of unilateral disarmament, and the Russians are unlikely to take this down another notch and leave themselves unnecessarily vulnerable to the antics of the Chinese, this train to nowhere has probably reached its destination already.

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From Elsewhere

The Fifty Years'  War
In November, Americans will decide what true freedom is.
by HENRY OLSEN National Review Online, September 30 2010

With primary season over, the stage is now set for an epic fall election. The massive electoral repudiation that increasingly looks likely for Democrats is not, however, why this vote will be historic. It will be historic because it is the most intense battle yet in the Fifty Years’ War between conservatives and liberals for possession of America’s political soul.

This war has been fought over what defines American freedom. Are Americans freer when they can pursue their dreams without government interference? Or are they freer when the government ensures that all their needs are provided for?

Obama Admin Targets Pro–Lifers in FBI Training Forum With Pro–Abortion Orgs
By Steven Ertelt, September 30 2010

Documents obtained today reveal the Obama administration partnered with leading pro-abortion organizations to host an FBI training seminar in August with the main focus of declaring as "violent" the free speech activities of pro-life Americans.

On August 25, 2010, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice co-sponsored a training seminar with Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and the Feminist Majority Foundation. ...

FBI and Obama administration officials provided participants with an 84-page document entitled “Resource Guide: Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers" that contained print copies of Power Point presentations prepared by the Justice Department and an analysis of alleged pro-life "violence" prepared by the pro-abortion groups.

The so-called violence perpetrated by pro-life advocates mostly contained examples of constitutionally-protected free speech, including activities such as praying, providing women outside abortion centers with alternatives information, and peaceful protesting or picketing.

Why is America Exceptional?
By Matthew Spalding, Ph.D Heritage Foundation, October 1 2010

In 1776, when America announced its independence as a nation, it was composed of thirteen colonies surrounded by hostile powers.

Today, the United States is a country of fifty states covering a vast continent. Its military forces are the most powerful in the world. Its economy produces almost a quarter of the world's wealth. The American people are among the most hard–working, church–going, affluent, and generous in the world.

Is America exceptional?

Robbing the Working Class
Big Labor, not the tea party, is workers’ worst enemy.
by Michele Malkin Town Hall, September 29 2010

The Service Employees International Union plans to send 25,000 rank–and–file workers on 500 buses to Washington this weekend to protest the tea–party movement, Republicans, and Fox News. If SEIU members had any sense, they’d be demonstrating at their own bosses’ D.C. headquarters. It’s the Big Labor Left, not the tea–party Right, that is flushing rank–and–file union workers’ hard–earned dues down the collective toilet in these hard times.

The co–organizer of the so–called “One Nation” protest by a coalition of progressive groups is George Gresham, president of the behemoth SEIU Local 1199, which is based in New York. (This is the same SEIU affiliate that employed current Obama domestic–policy adviser Patrick Gaspard as chief lobbyist for nine years.) Peeved by all the attention that grassroots conservatives and limited–government activists have received over the past year, Gresham spearheaded the rally plans earlier this summer to “counter the Tea Party narrative” and reclaim the voice for “working people.” Perhaps Gresham should pay more attention to his workers’ pensions than to tea–party leaders’ media appearances.

SEIU Local 1199’s Upstate Pension Fund has plunged from 115 percent funded in 1999 to 75 percent funded, and its Greater New York Pension Fund was funded at only 58 percent of its future obligations as of 2007, according to Hudson Institute analyst Diana Furchtgott–Roth. The union fat cats blame Wall Street. But while the pensions of SEIU workers nationwide are in “endangered status,” the pensions of SEIU top brass have been protected and remain fully funded.

Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2010
By Chris Edwards Cato Institute September 30 2010

State governments have had to make tough budget choices in recent years. Tax revenues have stagnated as a result of the poor economy, and that has prompted governors to take a variety of fiscal actions to close large budget gaps. Some governors have cut spending to balance their budgets, while others have pursued large tax increases.

That is the backdrop to this 10th biennial fiscal report card of the governors, which examines state budget actions since 2008. It uses statistical data to grade the governors on their taxing and spending records–governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades.

Four governors were awarded an “A” in this report card–Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Seven governors were awarded an “F”–Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, David Paterson of New York, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Pat Quinn of Illinois, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Bill Ritter of Colorado, and Chris Gregoire of Washington.

Trade Freedom Continues to Advance–Barely
By Bryan Riley and Ambassador Terry Miller Heritage Foundation, September 29 2010

The Heritage Foundation began ranking trade freedom around the world in 1995. The newest rankings (to appear in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom) show global trade freedom as high as it has ever been. That is encouraging: Countries with higher levels of trade freedom have higher levels of economic prosperity. Still, the latest average score showed only a slight improvement, and far too many people continue to live in poverty because their political leaders have blocked attempts at opening paths to freer trade. Countries should reduce trade barriers that protect politically powerful elites at the expense of the general population. More free trade leads to higher incomes, more jobs, and greater equality. Heritage Foundation trade policy experts Bryan Riley and Ambassador Terry Miller lay out the facts.

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