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True North Archives - November 16, 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

Make a Bid to Keep True North on the Air
Rob Roper photoOn 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 will take by December 15th is going to be a challenge, but fun. Thanks 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:

The New Governor's Fiscal Challenge
By John McClaughry

The 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.

Little Dog De-Porches to Run with Big Dogs
By Martin Harris

Martin Harris photoLittle 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 mis-used.

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This Week’s Mail Bag

Ominous Signs

To my brethren in Burlington District 3-5:

"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 Fund 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 and Medicaid.

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.

Tom Licata

"There is 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 Reich
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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

VT Global War On Terror Memorial Unveiled
From Fox 44, November 11 2010

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 Thursday.

"We dedicate this memorial in honor of those who gave their all on the global war on terror," said Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

No Quarter
From Vermont Tiger, November 12 2010

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.

Vermont Family Prepares For Return of Three Deployed Sons
From Fox 44, November 11 2010

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.

K-12: The Numbers Tell the Story
From Vermont Tiger, November 11, 2010

Hugh Kemper has updated – in his typically exhaustive, comprehensive fashion – the numbers on K-12 education in Vermont. 

Spending.  Enrollment.  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 employees.

Vermont 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 pump room.

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 any time.

Passenger Rail… Again!
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 line."

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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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Why 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 of them.

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. 

Why 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. Japan capitulated.

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.

UN 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 these countries.

We 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 legal wrangling.

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.

The 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.

Some 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 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 2008. 

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From Elsewhere

Cape 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.

Yes, 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.

A 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 essay.

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.

White 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.

The 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 years.

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 agenda." 

In 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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