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True North Archives - November 09, 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).

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Please Help Keep True North Radio on the Air!
By Rob Roper
Rob Roper photo
There’s one campaign to go in 2010, and that’s the one to keep True North Radio on the air for 2011. Bottom line: we need to raise at least $20,000 before December 15 to do so. 

or please send a check to 
True North Radio, P.O. Box 652, Burlington, VT 05402
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Does Shumlin Have Enough Political Options to Solve Vermont's Budget Problem?
By Bruce Shields

That leaves increasing taxes.  Mr. Shumlin in his acceptance speech used the phrase "increase revenue" as the preferred solution.  His campaign ads, which focused on "taxing the richest 1400 Vermonters," may limit his options in that regard.  The Left generally refuses to recognize that increasing tax rates may yield less revenue, not more.  Vermont already depends to an extraordinary degree on tax receipts from fewer than 20,000 persons.  Some 350,000 income t ax returns were filed two years ago, 50,000 from out of state.  The total tax on in-state returns was $550 Million; tax from 50,000 out of state tax returns was $43 Million after tax credits, adjustments, and exemptions.  Just 16,000 returns -- 5.3% of the total -- reporting more than $124,000 of income paid $260 Million, which is 51% of the total.  Clearly, the economic behavior of a very small number of people very disproportionately affects State revenues.

The Education State, or The Road Not Taken
By Martin Harris

Martin Harris photoAt times, the imaginings for Vermont-as-education-state went even further, with some of us arguing in the conferences for both a focus on education (private and public) and a focus on the cleanest industry of all (research and development). In a symbiotic/catalytic relationship, each would support and improve the other, with well-educated graduates staffing the labs and attracting new investments in faculties and facilities, and customers for both. Vermont would have become a magnet state, not for free public services, but for highly competitive schools and labs. The mix would have generated innovation, jobs, income, investment, and revenues for the public sector in taxes and for the private sector in profits. The road was never taken. Even as the impossible (?) dream faded, we who wondered where it went, in the late ‘70’s, never could figure out why it never happened. The question isn’t even being asked any more.

Instead, the nearest thing to an education strategy has been a captive-insurance-company strategy. ‘Nuf said.

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The US plan for limiting current account surpluses and deficits to 4 per cent of gross domestic product harked back "to the days of planned economies".

-- Cui Tiankai, a deputy foreign minister and one of China’s lead negotiators at the G20

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Election Analysis: Why No Shellacking in Vermont?
By Tom Evslin, Vermont Tiger, November 7 2010

Across the country there were four stand-out anomaly states, which seemed oblivious to the national trend: Vermont, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts (despite being the place where Republican Scott Brown kicked off this election cycle by replacing Ted Kennedy). I'm not counting states where Republicans simply lost by running impossible candidates. One possible explanation for these anomalies is self-selection. People move to New Hampshire because it has no income tax; it's not surprising that they then react to a fiscal crisis by quickly purging spenders even though employment is relatively robust in their state. People (like me) move to Vermont or California or Massachusetts despite the high taxes. Some move here and there because of rich benefit programs. In Vermont more people seem to dream of starting a non-profit than getting rich; we have lots of non-profits. Non-profits aren't discouraged by taxes.

The federal stimulus money that helped keep Vermont's generosity going is disappearing; with Washington in more frugal hands; it's not going to be replenished. People in other states which are swallowing bitter medicine now will not want to see their federal taxes or the federal debt increase to support our spending. Vermont must change to prosper.

Vermont Yankee Sale Faces Hurdles
By Dave Gram, The Burlington Free Press, November 6 2010

Entergy Corp. has less than 17 months to find a buyer for the troubled Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, close on a sale and get approval for the plant's new owner from federal and state regulators.

New Orleans-based Entergy announced this week what many had expected: It wants to sell its small New England nuclear plant that has become a giant headache.

The plant needs a license extension to operate past 2012, but a poisoned political environment for Entergy makes state approval look unlikely. That would leave Entergy faced with the prospect of covering the cost of mothballing the plant instead of making money from the energy it generates.

Related Article: Vt. Yankee Up for Sale - Shumlin won't change his position regardless of ownership.

Phil Scott Now Top Republican in VT
From WPTZ, November 5 2010

Scott Talks With NewsChannel 5

CVPS Seeks 8.3% Rate Increase
From WCAX-TV, November 4, 2010

CVPS customers may be paying higher bills soon.

The state's largest electric utility wants regulators to OK an 8.3 percent rate increase. If approved, it would take effect January 1st. Customers who use 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would see the bills rise from 78 to 84 dollars a month. Company officials say rising power costs and system improvements make the rate hike necessary.

"It is a much longer term picture as far as reliability improvements. Those are projects that are planned over a period of years, and just tend to be coming on at the same time. Part of the issue is that the systems were all built around the same time so now a lot of projects are coming due, they are being rebuilt, and the timing is just coincidental," said CVPS spokesman, Steve Costello.

Vermonters will still pay the least for power in New England.

Vermont Guard Members Expected Back by Christmas
By Matt Sutkoski, The Burlington Free Press, November 5 2010

The Vermont National Guard is preparing for the return of nearly 1,500 deployed soldiers, most of whom are expected to be home by Christmas.

The soldiers are expected to start leaving Afghanistan in small groups this month, go to a base in Indiana for demobilization and then come home. The process should last well into December, and most soldiers are expected to be home for the holidays, Vermont Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Lloyd Goodrow said.

Governor Douglas to teach at Middlebury College
By James Dwinell, Vermont Business Magazine, November 4 2010

During his weekly press conference this afternoon, Governor Douglas was asked what he would do when his term was up. He said he had options but had not made any decisions and was still looking.

However, after the press conference, Douglas was answering questions from a group of reporters and said, "Oh, by the way, I have agreed to teach a Vermont government and politics course during the January intensive at Middlebury College. Governor Kunin did the same and I have been reviewing what she did.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Security Weekly: Al Qaeda Unlucky Again in Cargo Bombing Attempt
By Scott Stewart, Strategic Forecasters, November 2 2010

In the end, this AQAP attack failed to achieve its immediate objective of destroying aircraft. The planners of the attack probably hoped that the parcels would be shipped on passenger aircraft, and it appears that they were aboard passenger aircraft for at least some of their journey. However, like the failed assassination of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and the Christmas Day attack, this attempt was successful only in its secondary objective, which was to generate global media coverage and sow fear in the West. Given the low cost and low risk associated with such an attack, this is quite an accomplishment — although the failed attack will certainly cause the U.S. government to turn up the heat on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to do something about AQAP. Saleh has long played a delicate balancing act of using the jihadists as allies against his enemies in the country’s north and south and has resisted launching an all-out offensive against AQAP. The U.S. government may also expand its unilateral operations against the group.

As long as AQAP’s operational leaders and its bombmakers — like Ibrahim Hassan Tali al Asiri, brother of the suicide bomber in the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef attack — remain free, they will continue trying to exploit security vulnerabilities and attack U.S. and Saudi targets. So far, the group has come close to pulling off several spectacular attacks but has suffered unlucky breaks that have caused each attack to fail. However, to paraphrase an old Irish Republican Army taunt, they only have to get lucky once.

Allowing Al-Qaeda to Reassert Itself?
Presidential Policy: Does It Make the Grade?
By James Carafano, Ph.D., Family Security Matters, October 26 2010

As the White House rolled into the 2010 mid-term elections, it was probably grateful that foreign policy made so few headlines, thereby masking how ineffective the Obama Doctrine has been in dealing with America’s adversaries. Then late last week news broke of the most recent al-Qaeda plot to attack America. According to press reports, "The two package bombs intercepted by authorities in Britain and Dubai last week appear to have been built to detonate ‘in flight’ and to bring down the planes carrying them, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser said Sunday." The plot was successfully foiled—the 33rd thwarted terrorist attack aimed at the U.S. since 9/11.

The aborted attack did little to move the debate over national security front and center in the U.S. elections. The President also missed another "teachable" moment, as this attack provides a clear reminder that al-Qaeda is still out there—and it is dangerous. Every attempted strike should be a firm reminder of the importance of fighting and winning in Afghanistan. The brutal truth is that the shortest route to the next 9/11 is for the United States to cut and run in Afghanistan. No matter how the critics try to justify running away before the job is done, the reality is that the wilds of Afghanistan and Pakistan are al-Qaeda central. Unless they are rooted out, we would be handing al-Qaeda not only a propaganda victory of immeasurable value, but allowing them to reestablish a sanctuary from which they could strike at the West with virtual immunity.

Time for a Tea Party at Turtle Bay
By Claudia Rosett, Pajamas Media, November 2 2010

Foreign policy was a side issue in Tuesday’s election. But with crises in the making, from Venezuela to Iran, and points between and beyond, the wider world will be muscling its way into the spotlight soon enough. Let’s hope the new Congress, whatever its configuration, will take a serious interest in at least trying to resume some oversight of how American tax dollars get spent at that international colosseum known as the United Nations. The issue is not solely the billions of dollars Washington pours annually into the UN — providing roughly one-quarter of a system-wide UN budget that now comes to well over $20 billion. The problem is also that along with the usual waste and fraud, the UN spends some of those American billions on activities hostile to U.S. values and interests.

Just this past week, as I noted in a post last weekend on the UN’s Tiananmen Travesty, the Chinese head of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, presented an award to a Chinese former defense minister, Chi Haotian, who was operational commander of the troops who crushed the 1989 Tiananmen democratic uprising. Sha — UN credentials and all — delivered this award on behalf of the World Harmony Foundation, an outfit intriguingly listed by the UN itself in its accredited NGO database as having no available address or home country. Presumably that’s just UN sloppiness, given that the World Harmony Foundation on its own web site lists addresses in both Manhattan and Zhejiang, China.

The World with Victor Davis Hanson: Chapter 5 of 5
By A. Millar, National Review Online, October 15 2010

Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the Iran dilemma and the prospect of American decline.

The Odyssey of Islamism in America Germany’s Freiheit Party Joins the Fray
By Daniel Pipes, Family Security Matters, November 3 2010

A new German political party, Die Freiheit (The Freedom), had its inaugural meeting on October 28 in Berlin. I was in town, so its leadership invited me to be the only non-member of the nascent party to witness and report on its founding constituent assembly.

As a reminder of how freedoms have eroded in Europe in this age of Islamist terror, a political party that resists Islamization and supports Israel cannot come into existence in broad daylight. So, like the other 50-plus attendees, I learned of the event’s time and location only shortly before it took place. For good measure, the organizers operated undercover; the hotel management only knew of a board election for an innocuously named company. Even now, for security reasons, I cannot mention the hotel’s name.

An Iranian Satellite in Latin America
By Jaime Daremblum,The Hudson Institute, November 1 2010

If you're looking for evidence that a nuclear Iran would be very difficult (if not impossible) to "contain," visit Buenos Aires. Between 1992 and 1994, the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah launched not one but two murderous attacks in the Argentine capital, bombing both the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center. It is widely believed that Tehran was involved in plotting the deadly explosions. If a non-nuclear Iranian government felt bold enough to mastermind such horrendous attacks in a faraway, seemingly random country, just imagine how aggressive a nuclear-armed Iran might be.

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From Elsewhere

‘A’ for Austerity: The New Scarlet Letter
By Jordan Ballor, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, November 3 2010

The fiscal realities of the global economic downturn are forcing many European nations to make hard choices about what governments can and cannot do. These choices are on one level merely pragmatic: given particular levels of tax income, there are limits to what the government can actually fund. But on a deeper level these pragmatic decisions reflect a more thoroughgoing view of the role of government in human social life. It is this deeper conversation that holds the hope for a more thoroughgoing and comprehensive reform of government, and it remains to be seen whether and how America might learn from some of the difficult decisions being made in Europe.

In Great Britain, for instance, Prime Minister David Cameron has instituted a Comprehensive Spending Review that involves substantive budget cuts. These austerity measures are, in the words of George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, intended to "confront the bills from a decade of debt." While in some cases these "cuts" amount to paring the growth of budgets rather than net reduction in spending, the announcement of budgets that some estimate would result in the loss of half a million government jobs by 2014-15 is a remarkable act of political courage, especially in a climate of relatively high unemployment. Even more noteworthy is that Cameron is making the case for austerity measures for the broader EU coalition.

Welcome, Senate Conservatives
Remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom.
By Jim DeMint, The Wall Street Journal, November 3 2010

Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.

Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them."

The Left Is In Disarray After Tuesday’s Elections
By Adam Bitely, Net Right Daily, November 4 2010

The progressive left is quietly going nuts over Obama’s staff inside of the White House. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, many on the left feel that Obama and his team are more interested in themselves than in the party. Obama was not an asset on the campaign trail this year, and it is still uncertain if he will be in 2012.

It is likely that Rahm Emanuel won’t be the only Obama staffer to leave, as Barry’s inner circle is increasingly under attack, with the left incensed at their belittlement at the hands of Robert Gibbs in the run up to the election. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, is already slated to leave the White House to set up the re-election campaign, and it is likely that other confidante’s like Valerie Jarrett, and David Plouffe may find themselves exploring other opportunities in the near future. The left is in a tizzy over their performance this year. And they are not looking up to these people favorably.

Beyond the Next Two Years
Yesterday’s elections will have long-lasting effects.
By Gerard Alexander, National Review Online, November 3 2010

Now that the voting is over, political pundits are trying to predict what impact the 2010 elections will have on the next two years: on taxes, health care, judicial confirmations, and the presidential election. But Tuesday’s results are also going to have several important effects in the years beyond 2012. Here are four.

First, the GOP is now in about the best imaginable position to gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as a result of the 2010 census. House-district lines will soon be drawn in about 17 states, almost evenly split between states that will lose seats and states that will gain them due to population shifts since 2000. Republicans now appear set to control the governor’s mansion in 13 of them. The governorships of New York, Massachusetts, and perhaps Illinois proved beyond the GOP’s grasp, but the redrawing of lines will be heavily influenced by Republican chief executives in Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and elsewhere. This matters especially because several of the affected states have Democratic majorities in their legislatures, including New Jersey and Nevada. There, GOP governors will be weighing in for their party; in other states, Republicans will dominate the process. While we’re at it, the same census results are going to shift Electoral College votes to generally Republican states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Utah, making it less necessary than ever for GOP presidential candidates to win Northeastern and even Midwestern states like Ohio.

Boehner’s Game of Health Care Jenga
By Tevi Troy, The Hudson Institute, November 4 2010

House Speaker-to-be John Boehner and President Obama held competing press conferences on Wednesday, and gave competing messages on what to do about Obama’s health-care law.

In his White House press conference, Obama defended the as-yet unimplemented law, rejecting the notion that the election was a repudiation of the bill. At the same time, he gave a heavily qualified statement laying out the conditions under which he would be willing to "tweak" the bill. According to Obama, "If the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our healthcare system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster, more effective reform . . . I am happy to consider some of those ideas." This is the equivalent of apologizing by saying "I’m sorry if you were offended." It allows Obama to reject any GOP suggestions by saying that he does not consider them to be "improvements" according to his definition.

Boehner, fresh off a historic victory, did not feel the need to make any such qualified concessions, saying, "we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common sense reforms to bring down the cost of health care." So despite Obama’s friendly post-election phone call to Boehner, the two men hold contradictory positions that cannot coexist. Republicans, however, still lack a majority in the Senate, let alone a filibuster-proof majority, and Obama would veto repeal legislation, which means that repeal is simply not going to happen in the next session in Congress. Nevertheless, it is likely that some type of repeal legislation will pass the House early in the next year, but not the Senate.

Leading Conservatives React to Election Results
From Human Events, November 2 2010

HUMAN EVENTS has compiled rapid-fire analyses from top conservatives around the nation on what tonight's election means and what the GOP should do moving forward. Here's what you need to know from Heritage Foundation's president Ed Feulner, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, Rep. Ted Poe, California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright, the Federalist Society's president Eugene Meyer, Donald Lambro, Erick Erickson of RedState, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, and American Values' Gary Bauer and Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association of America.

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