North Archives - November 16, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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a Bid to Keep True North on the Air
air/on line auctions to begin this Wednesday
By Rob Roper
We need your help to keep
True North Radio on the air for another year, and raising the $20,000 it
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to the generosity of some of the businesses supporting our cause, we have
some great items to auction off on the air. This Wednesday, November 17,
we will auction off the first four:
New Governor's Fiscal Challenge
By John McClaughry
most immediate challenge facing Vermont's new Governor is the projected
$112 million FY12 General Fund shortfall. Last year the legislature faced
a budget gap of $154 million. Thanks to the final year of federal stimulus
funding and hopeful projections for Challenge for Change (CfC) savings,
legislators went home believing that they had delivered a balanced budget.
Dog De-Porches to Run with Big Dogs
By Martin Harris
Forest Park was built in the early ‘70’s, a Vermont Housing Finance Agency
press release says, describing its demolition and re-build as a "restoration".
A curious choice of noun: not since the "restoration" of the old Pavilion
Hotel, next to the State House in Montpelier, which turned out (surprise!)
to be a complete tear-down and (quite accurate exterior appearance) re-build
some 40 years ago, has the word "restoration" been so officially
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Week’s Mail Bag
To my brethren in Burlington
"The multitudes remained
plunged in ignorance of the simplest economic facts, and their leaders,
seeking their votes, did not dare to undeceive them," said Churchill.
The International Monetary
released its annual review of U.S. economic policy. Section 6 of the July
2010 Selected Issues Paper stated this: "The U.S. fiscal gap associated
with today's federal fiscal policy is huge for plausible discount rates.
... closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment
equal to about 14 percent of U.S. GDP."
Think about that.
"About 14 percent of U.S.
GDP" equates to about the total federal tax revenues collected this year.
It also equates to about the total mandatory expenditures made this year,
primarily composed of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. In other
words, to close our "fiscal gap," we would have to double all taxes
or, eliminate all mandatory expenditures, including Social Security, Medicare
Footsteps, dear brethren,
footsteps: Do you not hear them? Do you not sense their danger? Where is
your sense of urgency? The social contract that has governed our nation's
once post WWII monopoly is over.
"The central conservative
truth is that it is culture, not politics that determines the success of
society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture
and save it from itself," said the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
"The people get the government
they deserve," said Jefferson.
And there but for the grace
of God, go I.
no "center" to American politics. The "center" is merely what most people
tell pollsters they think or want at any given time. Trying to move to
the center by following polls means giving up on leadership because you
can’t lead people to where they already are." --Robert
Weekly News Round-Up
Global War On Terror Memorial Unveiled
From Fox 44, November 11
In between the silence and
military precision, there were glimpses of unparalleled pain on the faces
of the parents with a direct connection to a new memorial unveiled in Randolph
"We dedicate this memorial
in honor of those who gave their all on the global war on terror," said
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.
From Vermont Tiger, November
The union's appetite for
money cannot be appeased, though there are fewer students to educate and
there is less money is coming in to the treasury.
Starve the beast?
We can't even persuade it
to go on a diet.
Family Prepares For Return of Three Deployed Sons
From Fox 44, November 11
When we first met the DiNunzio
family, last year, they were sitting down to a final family dinner before
three of their sons deployed to Afghanistan. Francisco, 22 Omar, 23 and
Jorge, 25 are all members of the Vermont National Guard.
The boys father Hugo DiNunzio
says he was shocked." Oh my gosh all three of them," he said.
On Thursday Hugo's emotion
was much different. After a year of separation, Hugo and his wife
are now preparing for the return of all three men. Though there is
no official word on when the boys will be back on U.S. soil; some of their
belongings have begun to arrive in Burlington.
The Numbers Tell the Story
From Vermont Tiger, November
Hugh Kemper has updated –
in his typically exhaustive, comprehensive fashion – the numbers on K-12
education in Vermont.
Staffing. It is all
here and Hugh describes it as "one stop shopping."
The debate over education
spending will not suddenly cease because we have had an election that turned
out favorably for the educomplex. The largest share – by far – of
the monies collected by taxes in this state is spent on the education of
a shrinking number of kids by an ever-growing number of well-paid government
Yankee Reconnects to Grid
From Vermont Business Magazine,
November 11 2010
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear
Power Plant reconnected to the New England power grid at 5:18 am, Thursday
morning. Operators manually shut the plant down on Sunday night to repair
a leak on a 24-inch feed water pipe located in the turbine building feed
The minor leak was found
to be from a weld on a one half inch metal access plug in the pipe. The
access plug was used for radiography of pipe welds during the original
construction of the plant. Technicians have replaced the seal weld with
a more substantial weld to the plug. The minor leakage, estimated at 120
drops per minute was collected via a floor drain and returned to the reactor.
There was no threat to public health or safety or to plant personnel at
By John McClaughry, Vermont
Tiger, November 10 2010
On Tuesday the Governor’s
office issued this news release: "Governor Jim Douglas will be joined
by Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and several railroad
officials at the St. Albans Amtrak Station for a "golden spike" driving
ceremony to officially kickoff the $70 million project ($50 million in
stimulus funds) to improve train speeds along the Vermonter passenger rail
Thus opens another chapter
in a three-decade passenger rail boondoggle in Vermont. It began with the
urgent need to link Montreal with New York City through Vermont. That collapsed
thanks to the demands of the Canadian railroad unions. So the Amtrak Vermonter
links St. Albans and New York.
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Global War on Terrorism
Islam Is Fractured
By Amil Imani, Freedom of
Iran, November 9 2010
Islam is fractured for a
variety of reasons. A major problem with Islam is that there are as many
different versions of it as there are Islamic pundits and there are legions
Another reason why Islam
is fractured is that it is all things to all people. Even a cursory study
of the Qur’an, the immutable word of God, as Muslims see it; the Hadith,
the authoritative sayings of the Prophet; and, the Sunna, the Prophet’s
life conduct, presents a body of contradictory and even outright erroneous
information. This body of Islamic doctrine enables a person to pick and
choose the parts he likes and ignore those he doesn’t. This feature explains
why some of the good as well as the most beastly people are Muslims. Amazingly
enough, both types justify themselves and their behavior by selectively
citing from the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Sunna.
Obama Is Right about India
The U.S. needs India
to counter a rising China.
By Charles Kruthammer, National
Review, November 12 2010
China’s aggressive territorial
claims on resource-rich waters claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the
Philippines, and Japan are already roiling the neighborhood. Traditionally,
Japan has been the major regional counterbalance. But an aging, shrinking
Japan cannot sustain that role. Symbolic of the dramatic shift in power
balance between once-poor China and once-dominant Japan was the resolution
of their recent maritime crisis. Japan had detained a Chinese captain in
a territorial-waters dispute. China imposed an embargo on rare-earth minerals.
That makes the traditional
U.S. role as offshore balancer all the more important. China’s neighbors,
from South Korea all the way around to India, are in need of U.S. support
of their own efforts at resisting Chinese dominion.
And of all these countries,
India, which has fought a border war with China, is the most natural anchor
for such a U.S. partnership. It’s not just our inherent affinities — democratic,
English-speaking, free-market, dedicated to the rule of law. It is also
the coincidence of our strategic imperatives: We both face the threat of
radical Islam and the longer-term challenge of a rising China.
Resolution Will Legitimize Persecution of Christians
By Nathan Tabor, Family
Security Matters, November 2 2010
As if the United Nations'
failure to address the persecution of Christians weren't bad enough, that
international body's resolution called "Defamation of Religions" will lay
the legal ground work for a country to legalize persecution of their citizens
if they believe in a different religion than the state. Such a resolution
would be of great assistance to Muslim, communist and socialist nations
who view the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible impediments to
their political or theological goals.
Few should be surprised that
the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), an inter-governmental organization
of 57 states with majority or significant Muslim populations, has been
working for several years through the United Nations system to justify
and advance the Defamation of Religions Resolution. The Resolution, introduced
in the UN, seeks to criminalize words or actions that are deemed to be
against a particular religion, especially against Islam.
Although proponents justify
the "defamation of religion" concept as protecting religious practice and
promoting tolerance, it really promotes intolerance and human rights violations
of religious freedom and freedom of speech for religious minorities in
Need to Talk about Islam
By Nina Shea & Paul
Marshall, The Hudson Institute, November 8 2010
Dutch parliamentarian Geert
Wilders was threatened with criminal punishment for hate speech from the
moment his anti-Koran film Fitna hit the internet in March 2008. Last month,
a Dutch judicial oversight body ordered that he be tried anew after finding
that judges in the first round of court proceedings appeared to be biased.
Even if Mr. Wilders is ultimately acquitted, as his prosecutors themselves
urge, he will have already been punished by years of costly and tiring
But the greatest threat posed
by this case is not to a lone Dutch firebrand, but to Europeans at large,
whose fundamental freedoms of speech and religion are being steadily undermined.
Those trying to repress these individual rights in the name of sensitivity
are gaining ground with each case that upholds the state's power to regulate
the content of speech on Islam. Since Mr. Wilders' defense does not challenge
the legitimacy of hate-speech laws per se, but instead points to the specific
facts of his case, even his acquittal would not alter this encroachment
on core Western rights.
Arab Lobby: The American Component
By Mitchell Bard, Middle
East Forum, November 3 2010
"That is the best-organized
lobby; you shouldn't underestimate the grip it has on American politics—no
matter whether it's Republicans or Democrats."This recent comment by the
European Union trade commissioner and former Belgian foreign minister,
Karel de Gucht, epitomizes the pervasive belief that a Jewish-Zionist-Israel
lobby has undue influence on U.S. Middle East policy.
This idea predates the establishment
of the state of Israel. For the most part, the discussion was kept behind
closed doors and limited primarily to State Department Arabists, but it
gradually became popular among those who held a grudge (such as Congressman
Paul Findley, who blamed his defeat in a reelection bid in 1982 on the
lobby) or who were open enemies of Israel (e.g., Pat Buchanan). The recent
publication of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby
and U.S. Foreign Policy, however, gave a patina of academic legitimacy
to the long whispered complaints of the anti-Israel establishment.
Walt and Mearsheimer cavalierly
dismissed the possibility that U.S. policy might be subject to countervailing
influences by those who believe the national interest is best served by
distancing the United States from Israel and cultivating ties with the
Arab states. They are not alone. Many analysts have ignored or belittled
the notion that an Arab lobby exists or has any influence. Yet one need
only look at the first year of the Obama administration to reject Walt
and Mearsheimer's case. How can Obama's solicitous policy toward the Arabs
and hostility toward Israel be understood if the Israel lobby is so omnipotent
or if pro-Arab forces are nonexistent? While The Israel Lobby came
out before Obama took office, one could as easily look to the hostility
displayed toward Israel by the Eisenhower administration after the 1956
Suez War to see the fallacy of the hypothesis.
Muslims Attending Capitol Hill Prayer Group Have Terror Ties, Probe Reveals
By Jana Winter, Fox News,
November 11 2010
An Al Qaeda leader, the head
of a designated terror organization and a confessed jihadist-in-training
are among a "Who's Who" of controversial figures who have participated
in weekly prayer sessions on Capitol Hill since the 2001 terror attacks,
an investigation by FoxNews.com reveals.
The Congressional Muslim
Staff Association (CMSA) has held weekly Friday Jummah prayers for more
than a decade, and guest preachers are often invited to lead the service.
The group held prayers informally for about eight years before gaining
official status in 2006 under the sponsorship of Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.,
one of two Muslims currently serving in Congress. The second Muslim congressman,
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., joined as co-sponsor after he was elected in
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Town 2010: Stewardship, Work, and the Lausanne Movement
By Brett Elder, The Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, November 10 2010
Roughly 4,500 delegates from
198 countries convened in Cape Town in late October for the historic Third
Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. In the absence of a more
hierarchical body to represent evangelicalism (defined in the broadest
of terms), this impressive gathering served an important role to convene
the minds around a core set of ideas and objectives that will advance the
Gospel of Jesus Christ around the globe. …
Of course this intersection
of faith and culture is precisely the "sweet spot" for the Acton
Institute and the Stewardship Council. Together we were asked to provide
editorial input, facilitate dialogue, and publish resources for various
leaders at the Cape Town gathering. Most measurably, the reception of a
special edition of the NIV
Stewardship Study Bible among congress delegates suggested that
a sound understanding of holistic Biblical stewardship and resource mobilization
was a message with current relevance. More than 65 percent of congress
delegates went out of their way to obtain a copy of this study Bible for
use in their ministries throughout the world. All told, 5,000 copies of
the special edition Bible were strategically distributed to some of the
most influential figures in today’s evangelical world.
It’s a Mandate
But it is an ideological
mandate, not a partisan one.
By Michael Tanner, The National
Review, November 10 2010
No mandate? If there ever
was an election with a clear set of differences between the parties, this
was it. This was a choice of bold colors, not pale pastels. For the last
two years, President Obama and congressional Democrats had expanded the
size, cost, and intrusiveness of the federal government.
While some Democrats tried to run away from the administration and its
record, the general message was, "Stay the course." As President Obama
said repeatedly, he believed that his policies were working. The Democratic
message was that voting Republican would reverse the "progress" of the
last two years.
And Republicans, almost unanimously,
made it clear that that was exactly what they intended to do. Could anyone
have voted for the Republicans without knowing that they intended to cut
spending, cut taxes, and repeal Obamacare? If it wasn’t enough for the
Republicans themselves to have said so, Democrats spent hundreds of millions
of dollars on commercials warning voters that Republicans were going to
"give tax cuts to the rich," and cut spending on everything from Social
Security and Medicare to unemployment benefits and college loans.
Voters listened and said
pretty unequivocally: That’s exactly what we want.
Plan to Cut Military Spending
By Benjamin H. Friedman
and Christopher Preble, The Cato Institute, November 2010
Federal policymakers have
supported many extraneous missions for the Department of Defense aside
from the basic and constitutional requirement to defend the nation. The
result is that America's military budget has become very bloated. The United
States would be better off taking a wait-and-see approach to distant threats,
while letting friendly nations bear more of the costs of their own defense,
as we discuss in a related
There will always be disorder
in various places around the globe, but that doesn't mean that all foreign
problems are a threat to America. We should retain the ability to participate
in multilateral efforts to mitigate humanitarian disasters, but we should
not mistake such efforts as something relevant to our defense.
By avoiding the occupation
of failing states and limiting our commitments to defend healthy ones,
we could plan for fewer wars. By shedding extraneous missions, we can cut
our force structure, which means reducing the number of U.S. military personnel
and the related costs for weapons, vehicles, and operations. The resulting
U.S. military force would be more elite, less strained, and less expensive.
House Doctored Offshore Drilling Report
By Connie Hair, Human Events,
November 11 2010
The Obama Administration
is guilty of misleading the public when implementing a moratorium on offshore
drilling, according to a new finding.
The Office of Inspector General
(IG) of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) has issued
a report at the request
of Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee
(and others) seeking an inquiry into misrepresentations made by the
Obama administration when shutting down all offshore drilling in the Gulf
of Mexico in the wake of the BP spill.
Shocking Truth: The Scientific American Poll on Climate Change
By Patrick J. Michaels,
The Cato Institute
But, as a make-up call for
calling attention to Curry, Scientific American has run a poll of
its readers on climate change. Remember that SciAm has been
shilling for the climate apocalypse for years, publishing a particularly
vicious series of attacks on Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical
Environmentalist. The magazine also featured NASA’s James Hansen
and his outlandish claims on sea-level rise. Hansen has stated, under oath
in a deposition, that a twenty foot rise is quite possible within the next
89 years; oddly, he has failed to note that in 1988 he predicted that the
West Side Highway in Manhattan would go permanently under water in twenty
SciAm probably expected
a lot of people would agree with the key statement in their poll that the
United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is "an
effective group of government representatives and other experts."
Hardly. As of this morning,
only 16% of the 6655 respondents agreed. 84%—that is not a typo—described
the IPCC as "a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political
Washington, But Not Of Washington
By Michele Bachmann, American
Spectator, November 11 2010
Joe Biden liked to tell audiences
this election cycle that, quote, "This is not your father's Republican
Party." Well, for once he was right. It's a lot closer to being our Founding
Fathers' Republican Party.
We have witnessed the birth
of a true, grassroots uprising of citizens and Constitutionalists, and
we saw this uprising grow into a full-blown social and political movement
that literally rewrote the political map of the United States.
The Republican Party did
well this election cycle. But no one should misunderstand or misinterpret
what has just taken place. The successes of the Republican Party have little
to do with a national or a House or a Senatorial committee, and much to
do with the men and women across this country willing to put everything
on the line in town halls and rallies, on the campaign trails and in voting
booths, to defend our exceptional American principles. They were Republicans,
conservatives, Libertarians, Independents. They were moms and dads and
students of all ideological stripes.
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