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True North Archives - October 19, 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

VPIRG and Friends
By Robert Mayanrd

Recent revelations on the part of some media outlets have pulled the curtain back ever so slightly on the influence of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, or VPIRG, on Vermont’s Politics. The revelation centers around an $8000 donation to Peter Shumlin by big time donor and VPIRG board member David Bilttersdorf, Shumlin’s appointment of Bilttersdorf to the Clean Energy Development Board, and Bilttersdorf’s company ultimately receiving $4.3 million tax credits from that very board. The company in question is an energy related company that deals in wind power. It should come as no surprise that it was same Peter Sumlin who is leading the charge to shut down David Blittersdorf’s number one business competitor, Vermont Yankee. 

Surprise: Dubie Posts Video of Shumlin's Unannounced Visit to his Campaign HQ's on Website
By Kelly Bartlett

Senator Peter Shumlin led a small group of business owners and TV cameras to Lt. Governor Brian Dubie’s campaign headquarters in Williston on Wednesday morning, 45 minutes before a scheduled televised debate. Dubie’s staff used the coverage to make its points about Shumlin’s campaign promises with no valid plans to pay for them.

Grilled: The Democrat candidate for governor, Shumlin said he wanted to talk with his opponent about health care. Apparently he just couldn’t wait the 45 minutes for the debate to begin. Instead of surprising Dubie, Shumlin was caught off guard by the grilling he got from Dubie’s spokesperson, Kate Duffy.

The Liquid Metal Health Care Plan
By John McClaughry

Arnold Schwarzenegger's nemesis in Terminator II: Judgment Day is a humanoid robot called T-1000, sent back from the future to destroy the human destined to overthrow robot rule. Every time Arnold knocks the stuffing out of T-1000, it reassembles from a pool of shiny liquid metal into the original menace.

The T-1000 of Vermont politics is single payer health care. From 1990 to the present, liberal legislators have voted millions of dollars for study and design projects to bring the wonders of single payer health care to the people of Vermont.

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"It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government." This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power, is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves."

—Ronald Reagan - October 27, 1964

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

No, The Sky Is Not Falling
Politics by Emerson Lynn, Vermont Tiger, October 

When passengers walk through airport security at Burlington’s International Airport, they are scanned by x-rays and the amount of radiation is about 0.015 millirem. Our bodies naturally receive about 360 millirems annually. It’s so small we don’t think about it.

But when Vermont Yankee Friday announced that it had detected tritium levels of 1,040 picocuries per liter, Vermont’s political world broke into a panic. Peter Shumlin, the Democratic nominee for governor, said: "This is the worst man-made environmental disaster, in my judgment, in the history of this state." Brian Dubie, the Republican nominee for governor, said he wants new assurances from the state and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the plant is safe to operate....

For perspective, that 1,040 picocuries per liter level contains less than one-tenth the amount of radiation we receive in that round-trip airline ride. 

It is 100 times less than the dose you get with x-rays at the dentist’s office.

It is 10,000 times less than the radiation you get when you go to the hospital for a CT scan.

Educational Bunkum
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 12 2010

One of the pillars of Peter Shumlin's platform is to provide universal preschool education to all of Vermont's 3- and 4-year-olds. He claims this huge expansion of public education services and cost is necessary. Here is his rationale in his own words: "It will provide our children with the tools they need to succeed in school and as adults. Children enrolled in early education score higher in math and reading and are more likely to get jobs and become successful, productive members of society. Universal access to pre-K education will go a long way towards erasing the achievement gap for low-socioeconomic students and students who learn differently, and put all of our children on a more level playing field. In fact, for every dollar spent on early childhood education, there is a 7 to 16 dollar return."

Shumlin's whole argument is pure educational bunkum. It is based on a research project that dealt with only 58 poor minority children with IQs between 70 and 85 (the average IQ in America is 100). It lasted only three years, and that was 50 years ago. Most, if not all, of Shumlin's claims are based on this woefully inadequate study.

A Tale of Two Utilities
From the Vermont Tiger, October 14 2010

In Vermont, these are probably neither the best of times nor the worst of times.  But it can surely be said that they are confusing times.  Consider how the state's political and opinion-making class views and treats two conspicuous utilities: Burlington Telecom & Vermont Yankee....

Perhaps, then, for those who believe that there is a compelling need to keep Vermont Yankee up and running, there is a solution.  Turn it into a non-profit that loses a lot of money, hides its financials from public view, and fails to deliver on promised services.

Then, almost for sure, Vermont Progressives would show Yankee some love.

Candidates for VT Gov. Share Similar Focus
From Fox 44 News, October 14, 2010

Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin remain focused on winning the Vermont governor's race and the same issue, the economy.

Dubie on Thursday launched another jobs-related tour around the state. He stopped at women-owned businesses including Rehab Gym in Williston.

The Sanders Slush Fund
From the Vermont Tiger, October 5 2010

As of now, there will be no COLA  increase in Social Security payments in 2011.  This is because there has been no increase in the cost of living.  Social Security is supposed to operate more or less independently of the whims of Congress and the passions of an election year. Senator Sanders is, of course, outraged and has

... announced that he will press for passage when Congress returns in November of a one-time, $250 payment to seniors and disabled persons facing the second straight year without a cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security.

In Tight Governor's Race, Four Counties Could Be Seesaw
By Terri Hallenbeck and Nancy Remsen, The Burlington Free Press, October 17 2010

Every vote in every town and city across Vermont will count in what appears to be a snug-tight race, but what happens in a few politically muddled medium-sized communities will be a key indicator of how the race comes out, predicted Eric Davis, a retired Middlebury College political science professor who is watching the election closely.

He pointed to Colchester, Barre, Randolph, Morristown and Bennington as places where the race rides on which way teetering voters land.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

America’s Founders and the Principles of Foreign Policy: Sovereign Independence, National Interests, and the Cause of Liberty in the World
By Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., Heritage Foundation, October 15 2010

America’s Founders sought to define a national good that transcended local interests and prejudices. The national good included the common benefits of self-defense and prosperity that all Americans would realize by participating in a large, commercial nation able to hold its own in an often hostile world. But it was only with the constitutional rule of law that the higher purpose, or true national interest, of America could be realized. That purpose was to demonstrate to all mankind the feasibility of self-government and the suitability of justice as the proper and sustainable ground for relations among nations and peoples. The honor of striving for domestic and international justice would give moral purpose to the American character. The United States would support, defend, and advance the cause of freedom everywhere. It would be a refuge for the sober, industrious, and virtuous of the world, as well as for victims of persecution. By sympathy and appropriate action, Americans would show themselves to be true friends of humanity.

Sarkozy's Russian Gamble
By Kenneth R. Weinstein, Hudson Institute, October 13 2010

The news from France is always interesting, especially under President Nicolas Sarkozy. He is the most pro-American French leader since the days of the Fourth Republic and last year returned his country to NATO's military command structure. On the world stage, only Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been more articulate in warning of the profound global threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.

All this makes it only more astonishing that Mr. Sarkozy is at the same time cozying up to Russia. On Monday he will host President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a summit in the Normandy beach resort of Deauville. Particularly worrisome is the meeting's focus on a new security architecture that would, as the Kremlin noted, allow the three nations to "develop their partnership for forming a common European security and cooperation space."

Syria, Hezbollah and Iran: An Alliance in Flux
By Reva Bhalla, Strategic Forecasters, October 11 2010

Rather than getting caught up in the drama surrounding the Iranian president’s visit, we want to take the opportunity provided by all the media coverage to probe into a deeper topic, one that has been occupying the minds of Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah officials for some time. This topic is the durability of the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria alliance, which STRATFOR believes has been under great stress in recent months. More precisely, the question is: What are Syria’s current intentions toward Hezbollah?

The World with Victor Davis Hanson: Chapter 2 of 5
By A. Millar National Review Online, October 12 2010

Victor Davis Hanson outlines some possible futures for Asia, and the dangers therein.

Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide: 'The U.S. Is Now Experiencing the Beginning of Its End'; Improvement and Change in the Muslim World 'Can Only Be Attained Through Jihad and Sacrifice'
From the Middle East Research Institute 

In one of his recent weekly sermons, titled "How Islam Confronts the Oppression and Tyranny [against the Muslims]," Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi' accused the Arab and Muslim regimes of employing tyranny against their peoples, of avoiding confrontation with the Muslims' real enemies – the Zionist entity and the U.S. – and of disregarding Allah's commandment to wage jihad against the infidels.

About the U.S., he said that it is immoral and therefore doomed to collapse, and that it is "experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading towards its demise."

Payoff Seen in Afghan Surge
Taliban demoralized and changing sides, military says
By Rowan ScarboroughThe Washington Times, October 11 2010

The U.S. military is starting to see signs that the troop surge in Afghanistan is working on a timetable similar to the Iraq reinforcement campaign in 2007, according to an outside adviser and military sources.

"There are already some early signs of a beginning of a momentum shift in our favor," retired Army Gen. Jack Keane told The Washington Times.

Gen. Keane just returned from a two-week tour of the battlefield, where the focus is on ousting the Taliban from Kandahar, its birthplace, as well as from Helmand province and other southern and eastern areas.

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From Elsewhere

The 2010 Index of Dependence on Government
By William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell, The Heritage Foundation, October 14 2010

The number of Americans who pay taxes continues to shrink—and the United States is close to the point at which half of the population will not pay taxes for government benefits they receive. In 2009, 64.3 million Americans depended on the government (read: their fellow citizens) for their daily housing, food, and health care. Starting in 2015, the Social Security program will not receive enough taxes to pay all the promised benefits—which will be hard for all job-holders, but devastating for roughly half the American workforce that has no other retirement program. Add in last year’s preposterously named American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, spiraling academic grants, flat-out farm socialism, the swelling ranks of Americans who believe themselves entitled to "free" government benefits—and now the government takeover of the nation’s health care system—and the very nature of this country’s republican form of government is called into question. Like they have been doing since 2002, Heritage Foundation policy experts lay out the increasingly gloomy facts. Can Americans pull back from the brink of complete dependence on government?

A Plan To End Failed Federal Programs
By Rep. Darrell Issa, Investor’s Business Daily, October 13 2010

The appropriate role of the federal government will continue to be a subject of partisan debate, and it should. But in the meantime, members of both parties should agree on the need for more accountability for federal spending. This accountability is only possible through identifying failure and ensuring that it has consequences.

One method of establishing consequences for failure would be a federal program sunset commission, composed of a bipartisan group of outside experts empowered to review every federal program and make recommendations to Congress concerning the improvement, consolidation or elimination of those programs that do not deliver sufficient results to the American people.

An independent commission would foster objectivity without playing favorites among political constituencies. Within one year of a commission review, a failing program would be abolished automatically unless reauthorized by Congress.

The President's Nun: Obamacare Scranton Scandal Explodes
By Jeffrey Lord,The American Spectator, October 11 2010

A mushrooming political battle over ObamaCare involving the White House, two incumbent Pennsylvania congressmen, three Catholic hospitals and a nun has just exploded in, of all places, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Charges from the Scranton medical community of intimidation by the Obama White House and its allies are filling the air. All of this just as Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Scranton today to raise money for one of the participants. There are two issues at the core of the controversy.

1. ObamaCare and the sale of three Scranton-area Catholic hospitals.

2. The re-election prospects of the two House members, Democrats Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney, both of whom cast key votes to pass ObamaCare.

Related Article: Obama’s Healthcare Rules Will Shut Down Catholic Hospitals Nationwide

Another Year of Trillion-Dollar Deficits
From The Heritage Foundation, October 15 2010

Preliminary figures from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show that Washington ran a $1.291 trillion deficit in 2010, just slightly less than last year’s $1.416 trillion.

To put these figures in perspective, the annual budget deficit between 1789 and 2008 never reached $500 billion. As a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), the past two years’ deficits of 10.0 and 8.9 dwarf all other deficits since World War II.

Senate Democratic Candidates Dump Big Labor
By Connie Hair, Human Events, October 8 2010

Big Labor’s push to pass its top legislative agenda item during a lame duck session of Congress was dealt another severe blow this week when two Democratic candidates -- one a sitting Senator -- voiced new opposition to the "card check" bill.

Both are trailing in the polls.

Democratic Senate hopefuls Gov. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Co.) on Monday came out in opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) which seeks to, among other noxious elements, strip employees of the right to a secret ballot when voting whether or not to unionize their workplace.

Obama Admission Inspires GOP
By Scott Wong, Politico, October 13 2010

Senate Republicans on Wednesday seized on President Barack Obama’s admission to The New York Times that "there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects," an acknowledgement they say suggests the administration’s $814 billion economic stimulus plan is a failure.

"As the trillion-dollar stimulus fails to fulfill promises, President Obama is separating himself from his own sales pitch on shovel-ready projects," read the headline of a news release from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

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