North Archives - November 23, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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).
Food Policy Gives Heartburn
According to the news this
week, Vermont is now one of the hungriest states in the union. We do such
a miserable job of feeding our people that... well, our Attorney General
says we need to start taxing sugary drinks to fight the state’s obesity
crisis. Apparently, any Vermonter not starving to death is killing himself
with too many Mountain Dews and juice boxes.
In both cases (too much waistline
and too little nutrition) as Ronald Reagan said so well, government is
not the solution, government is the problem. In fact, these two juxtaposed
headlines should be a real red flag to get government the heck out of food
policy all together. Our government is, in a word, incompetent.
Deborah T. Bucknam
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ opinion
piece in the Caledonian Record on November 8, 2010 ("Where do we go from
here?") was so wrong on so many counts it is hard to know where to begin.
Sanders’ theses in his November 8 commentary are identical to his positions
nearly forty years ago when he first ran for office on the Liberty Union
ticket. His rigid fixed beliefs have not changed despite the overwhelming
evidence over the last four decades that his policies would lead to economic
stagnation and authoritarianism.
Reality has never intruded
into Sanders’ belief system.
How does Sanders continue
to cling to his socialist faith? By self righteously attacking his opponents
as morally bankrupt and their followers as dolts. The November 8, 2010
piece is an example of Sanders’ approach. He starts by calling Republican
candidates, who gained over 66 seats in the United States Congress and
680 seats in state legislatures as "extreme right wing". Republican candidates
in 2010 ran on fiscal responsibility, more transparent, efficient government;
less regulation and lower taxes. Those positions are not only mainstream,
but many were embraced by candidate Barack Obama in 2008.
Sustainably Fossil-Fueled Vermont Economy
By Martin Harris
State government eager to shut down a third of its electric power can’t
be considered, as the ALEC study does, a serious competitor in the arena
of States looking for citizen prosperity via gains in production and productivity,
what are still called economically Progressive ambitions, but are certainly
not politically Progressive ambitions. ALEC hasn’t yet done the study which
compares State-by-State success in de-industrialization, "smart-growth",
local-vore-ism, more green energy and less manufacturing, passive-income
growth, and, of course "sustainability". I’d guess that the new Vermont
would score close to a 1. Consider this contrast: a frequent LttE writer
in Middlebury advocates dissuading population growth, natural or in-migration,
and applauds the job-seeking or tax-fleeing out-migration of recent years
as a welcome population shrinkage toward "sustainable" levels. Conversely,
ALEC scores net-in-migration as a "good thing", a marker for economic attractiveness,
growth, and prosperity. Michigan leads in net out-migration, at -7.9% of
population; while Utah shows a +0.5%. Vermont shows a +0.2%, caused by,
I’d guess, passive-income in-migrants slightly out-numbering active-income
out-migrants, but ALEC doesn’t differentiate. In Table 6, Net Domestic
Migration, the authors report on the large population gains for FL and
AZ, the middling gains for TN and CO, the small losses for CT and MA, and
the large flight from CA and NY, but doesn’t segregate by active vs. passive
income. You can easily guess.
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
Inclusion Fusion Bowl-a-thon
The High School that my son
attends has a Dance Group where the teacher has been able to accommodate
dancers of all levels, including those with disabilities, even some in
wheelchairs into a Dance Group called Inclusion Fusion. They have
been in the news and have gained National Attention from a You Tube Clip
that they made of their performance. They were invited to dance at
the Half-time at the Champ Bowl at the Citrus Bowl (College Football) in
Orlando Florida on December 26th. They were also invited to perform
at Universal Studios. They have been fundraising but are still $18,000
short of what it will cost to go (airfare and lodging). I have been
working on a Fundraiser for them and am asking you to help out by participating,
attending, donating, and also passing this information on to others in
your lists and groups. If you own a business or know of a business
that would be willing to be a Corporate Sponsor ($125 donation) your business
will get a professionally made sign with your business name, logo, phone
number and web address posted on the day of the event.
Please use this as an opportunity
to show Free Market and Community Caring (versus government handouts) and
that people can care for our communities and are willing to give to a great
Cliuck to check out the Inclusion
Fusion Flyer and the Inclusion
Fusion Pledge Sheet. Let me know if you have any questions.
Coordinator Green Mountain
* * *
A Heads Up on S 510
It's been a while since I've
sent a personal appeal for help out but here I am. I've bcc'd 57 people
who may or may not know each other but who I feel will understand the gravity
of S.510 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (latest text at link-- thomas
times out after 30 mins so you may need to refresh the page). This is a
bill I've been paying attention to for what feels like forever, sometimes
more closely than others but always with an eye on where it is and what
it is going to do.
I can tell you what it will
do. It will forever change the way people relate to the food they eat.
It will mean that virtually every aspect of farming and gardening will
require and be subject to various licensing, fees, regulations, red tape,
documentation, site inspections, and on and on and on. Those boxes of zucchini
and tomatoes and cucumbers left in the post office will turn an otherwise
overzealous home gardener into a smuggler. Say goodbye to your farm
stands. Say goodbye to drinking your own cow's milk. Legally, that is.
If you're not familiar with
S510, please take some time to do a little digging. Plenty has been written
on it. Some hysterical, some pathetic and everything in between. This has
all of that and more but generally solid information about S 510. Everyone
receiving this is a free thinker. That's why I'm enlisting your assistance
Since the cloture vote last
week we have a timetable. S 510 will be voted on Monday Nov 29. That gives
us one week to organize. We may or may not be able to defeat this but we
can send a message loud and clear to Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders that
Vermonters take food seriously. Vermont has crafted an image of itself
as an organic mecca. At any rate, I am now preaching to the choir ;)
Sharon (Zecchinelli of No-NAIS,
C4L and other groups) and I are coordinating a peaceful S 510 demonstration.
The purpose is to send a loud and clear message to our federal delegation
that this intrusion into our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness will
not be tolerated. I hope to get the word on this demonstration to as many
people and groups as is possible in one week. Please let me know if you
are willing to help-- whatever it is that you can do.
VT park-n-ride (Middlesex is exit 9 off of RT 89, one exit north of Montpelier.)
Why this location is important:
Patrick Leahy lives in Middlesex. There is ample parking. The state police
barracks are nearby. Patrick Leahy will learn of this event.
Sunday, November 28, afternoon
Why this date was chosen:
Thursday is Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Saturday travel.
Sharon and I will do as much
plugging in as we can with any group or individual that we think will be
able to assist in some way. Please help get the word out. Especially interested
people can contact me or Sharon. My number is 279-1261. Sharon will set
up a conference call for later this week for a check-in/update. If you
want in let me know asap.
And just so you know, this
is just the beginning ;)
Jessica Bernier lives
in Barre and is a member of the Vermont Campaign for Liberty
"Men, it has
been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds,
while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
-- Charles Mackay, "Extraordinary
Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds"
Weekly News Round-Up
Ranks #1 in Hunger Increase
From WCAX-TV, November 16
New numbers show that Vermont
now ranks among the top hungriest states in the country.
The USDA just released its
annual report which shows that 1 in 7 Vermont households don't have enough
to eat. These figures are determined by census data on families' eating
habits. According to the USDA's analysis, Vermont and Alabama are tied
for the highest increase in household food insecurity over the past decade.
= Revenue: Here Come the Calorie Cops
From Vermont Tiger, November
The appetite of the governing
class is unappeaseable. There is no small corner of life where it
will not intrude in order to regulate and, of course, tax ordinary citizens
leading ordinary lives which their masters have decided are flawed and
must be changed. By persuasion, if possible. Which means lots of
propagandizing in the schools and endless public service announcements
in the media. And when these soft strategies don't work, then the
rulers ratchet things up a few notches with regulations and taxes.
These, incidentally, provide secure employment for many, many people who
work in the public sector and, by the way, vote.
Environmental Group Criticizes Green Energy
From Fox 44, November 17
A Vermont environmental group
says the state's push to go "green" shouldn't destroy one of its best features
- the Green Mountains.
Vermonters for a Clean Environment
says they aren't necessarily against wind power. They just don't want giant
wind turbines built atop Vermont's unspoiled mountains.
to Kill an Economy
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger,
November 16, 2010
That's the title I considered
giving to a study I did, that was just released, analyzing the impact of
the sales tax on the counties of New Hampshire and Vermont that border
the Connecticut River. Instead, I called it The
Unintended Consequences of Public Policy Choices: The Connecticut River
Valley Economy as a Case Study.
Briefly, (the study itself
is 50 pages, but there's a short two page executive summary), until 1969
neither Vermont nor New Hampshire levied a sales tax. Vermont had
not yet passed its development control law, Act 250, and the bottle bill
didn't exist. Both sides of the river were similar, with small towns
and similar populations. Not surprisingly, there were a wide variety of
stores on both sides of the river supporting the local population. Spending
in those stores, on a per capita basis, was nearly identical throughout
the 1950s and 1960s.
By John P. Gregg, Valley
News, November 18 2010
The three-member Blue Ribbon
Tax Structure Commission looking at how Vermont collects revenue plans
to issue preliminary recommendations before January, a clear sign that
its work could have some real influence as Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin takes
Among the issues the commission,
which is chaired by Norwich resident Kathy Hoyt, is looking at are whether
to use adjusted gross income, rather than taxable income, as the starting
point for collecting state income taxes.
That would end such deductions
as mortgage interest payments and gifts to charity, but would also broaden
the tax base from $10.2 billion to $15 billion, no small sum, and could
lead to the lowering of marginal income tax rates.
By Hugh Kemper, Vermont
Tiger, November 1 2010
Big Wind Is Not the Answer;
Pursue Alternatives Instead. This was the overriding message
directed at the Legislature and the in-coming Shumlin Administration and
delivered yesterday in Montpelier by over 8 Vermont citizen groups opposed
to the development of industrial scale wind projects in Vermont.
Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters
for Clean Environment, hosted the one-hour press briefing.
Her introductory remarks to a packed conference room were pointed and poignant:
"We are gathered
today to sound the alarm bells – nothing less than the future of Vermont
is at stake. The proposed ridgeline wind projects will irreparably harm
our natural resources and habitats, make hundreds of Vermonters sick, and
leave scars that will never heal – all for little if any benefit to Vermont
or the environment. There is a better way, and now is the time to change
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
as Victor of Western Value Relativism
From Politically Incorrect
The clash of civilizations,
the collision between cultures, forecast by Samuel P. Huntington, has long
since become an obvious fact in modern-day Europe, finding its clearest
expression in the confrontation of Islam with the remnants of European
Christianity. This collision not only is echoed in form of terrorist attacks
but also in form of a bitter fight of ideals between two systems of values
that could hardly be more opposed to each other, namely the archaic-totalitarian
value system of Islam and the one represented by post modern European Enlightenment.
In the wake of this quarrel,
the world of Islam has already achieved considerable partial success thanks
to something we might call value indifference coupled with blind tolerance
exhibited by European political elites which has already lead to a process
of disintegration of both Europe’s ethic-religious foundations and sphere
of rights. By the end, Islam may well emerge as victorious should Europe
fail to rethink its occidental Christian roots.
Real Threat To Homeland Security
By Peter Huessy, Family
Security Matters, November 17 2010
analysts continue to concentrate on individual terrorists and their network
of mosques from which they emerge. Many assume they represent the most
serious security threats facing the country—often termed "Al Qaeda and
its affiliates". But the Administration’s recent Asian trip illustrates
the much more important, and more dangerous, side of the US security and
foreign policy equation—good old fashioned states. That landscape looks
example, the Chinese have down-rated the US currency, again, even though
the PRC is currently in default of some $300 billion it owes thousands
of American bond holders. A new report from the congressionally mandated
US China Commission warns of current PRC missile deployments having the
capability to conduct massive strikes against our military bases throughout
the Western Pacific. And not more than a few weeks ago, Global Security
Network reported a State Department official calmly noting that Peking
has been helping Iran with both its ballistic missiles and its nuclear
weapons program. And not more than a few months ago, the Secretary
of State correctly pushed back on Chinese hegemonic aims in the South China
Sea over oil resources. Yet official US policy is to consider Peking a
"cooperative" country with respect to US efforts to stop the proliferation
of weapons technology to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
of Kim no Upgrade
By Peter Brookes, Heritage
Foundation, November 20 2010
Over the weekend, North Korea
promised a "1,000-fold" rise in its military strength, The Associated Press
reported. And Pyongyang may be keeping its word.
For example, the Institute
for Science and International Security, a U.S.-based research group, says
that North Korea is busy as a beaver, building its bomb-making capabilities.
It says Pyongyang is up to something suspicious at the home of its plutonium-based
nuclear-weapons program at Yongbyon, and not even trying to conceal the
work from satellites.
Found Not Guilty on 285 of 286 Charges
By John McCormack, The Weekly
Standard, November 17 2010
Jurors have delivered mixed
a verdict in the first civilian trial of a Guantanamo detainee.
After hitting a snag earlier
this week when one juror said she felt threatened by others, the panel
on Wednesday delivered a guilty verdict against Ahmed Ghailani on only
one of nearly 300 counts against him.
The Manhattan jury deliberated
over seven days before finding Ghailani guilty of just one count of conspiracy
to destroy U.S. buildings. He was acquitted of multiple other counts including
murder and murder conspiracy.
Prosecutors said Ghailani
helped an al-Qaida cell buy a truck and components for explosives used
in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack
in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed
224 people, including 12 Americans.
As U.S. Moves Out, Iran Moving Into Iraq
Iran has significantly expanded
its intervention and is ready to transform Iraq into a proxy, a report
Center for New Politics and Policy asserted that Iran was filling the vacuum
left by the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq. In a report titled "Iraq’s
Shi’a Leadership Crisis and the Iranian End Game," the Washington-based
center said Iran was using both Shi’ite and Sunni militias to destabilize
Iraq to prevent the emergence of a pro-U.S. government in Baghdad.
"Teheran is now transitioning
to a post-U.S. occupation end game strategy — the transformation of Iraq
into an Iranian proxy state," the report, authored by senior fellow Webster
By Jaime Daremblum, The
Hudson Institute, November 18 2010
With the world distracted
by currency fights, European debt problems, and other economic challenges,
Nicaragua has quietly invaded and occupied the sovereign territory of Costa
Rica. It is an act of naked aggression that deserves to be condemned and
resisted by governments everywhere, yet most Americans have probably read
little or nothing about it.
Here's a brief synopsis of
what happened. At the direction of their government, Nicaraguans were dredging
the San Juan River, which forms a section of their southern border with
Costa Rica. They were doing so in a manner that was damaging many Costa
Rican properties, which understandably prompted San José to complain.
Then, Nicaraguan military troops entered and occupied a large river island
(Calero Island) that has traditionally been considered part of Costa Rican
territory. Indeed, they even raised a Nicaraguan flag there. The soldiers
are refusing to leave Calero Island, and Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega
is insisting —against all evidence— that the island belongs to Managua.
# # #
Sparked the Tea Party
Barack Obama’s policies
get blamed (or credited) with triggering the movement. Actually, they were
George W. Bush’s.
By Michael Hirsh, The National
Journal, November 13 2010
There he was again, after
nearly two years of silence, silver-haired and gracious, hawking his new
book with just the right touch of self-deprecation. Once an errant son,
George W. Bush is returning as a gray eminence. His steely resolve is now
mainly focused on staying out of the politics he once ruthlessly practiced.
"I’m through with it," the former president told Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday,
resisting all attempts to get him to sound off on Sarah Palin, or criticize
President Obama, as Bush ran through a gamut of interviews on TV this week
about his memoir, Decision Points. "I’m not going to wade back into
the swamp." ("Come on in!" Oprah gamely urged, to no avail.) Oprah’s studio
audience applauded his discretion. But there is no small irony at play
in Bush’s dignified reemergence in this autumn of the nation’s discontent,
considering how much the 43rd president is responsible for creating today’s
political swamp. And more, how big a part Bush and his policies played
in engendering the new force that is upending American politics, the tea
That may sound like a bold
statement at a moment when Obama is blamed for nearly every ill, and the
electorate so clearly repudiated him on November 2. But there is a reason
the Republican Party—which Bush once confidently declared he had redefined—has
also been put on such stern probation, and why so many independents who
voted tea party were in reality disaffected Republicans who left the party
in disgust in the eight years before Obama. It was no surprise that last
week, at one of the conservative election-night galas on Capitol Hill,
the biggest applause line came when a tea party activist proclaimed: "Tonight,
we fired the Democrats. Republicans, if you mess up, you’re next."
Touch My Junk!
By Felicia Cravens. Liberty
Juice, November 17 2010
No wonder people are standing
up to the TSA. No wonder people are standing up to Big Government everywhere.
The same type of bureaucratic yahoos that run the TSA run government agencies
all over the country. I have ceased to trust them to deal with my safety,
my money, my retirement, my children, or anything else I have. And
I have taken up John Tyner’s rallying cry, not just for security screenings,
but for everything in my life:
Related Article: The
'don't touch my junk' Guy: Should the TSA Leave John Tyner alone?
Related Article: Network
Double Standard: Obama's TSA Gropers vs. Bush's NSA Eavesdroppers
Rangel Convicted on 11 of 13 Corruption Charges
By Bryan Preston, Pajamas
Media, November 16 2010
former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charlie Rangel,
has been convicted
on most of the corruption charges brought against him. A House ethics
panel has convicted Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on 11 of 13 counts of
violating House ethics rules.
the Democratic Party Cannot Survive
By Monty Pelerin, The American
Thinker, November 17 2010
The Democratic Party is unlikely
to survive. This outcome is effected by Obama, but not directly caused
by him. Likewise, the latest election results are confirming rather than
causal. The party's amazing success since the 1930s contained the seed
of its demise.…
One problem with the "ice
cream" strategy is that you cannot promise ice cream to everyone. As a
result, the political base for Democrats developed as a motley collection
of beneficiaries "bought" at various times. These include minorities, government
employees, big labor, trial lawyers, teachers' unions, gays, radical women's
groups, and environmentalists, among others.
Another problem is the lack
of commonality. Whatever is provided to one group demands that less be
available for another. An underlying tension between groups must always
be managed. This surfaced when Dems tried to attract Hispanics. Blacks
looked at this as a threat to their importance.
Governing presents another
problem. Interest group politics, while perhaps a good election strategy,
is not conducive to effective governing.
The fatal flaw in the strategy,
however, is the dependence on the continuing flow of goodies. Once you
run out of ice cream, you can no longer buy or maintain your "clients."
As Margaret Thatcher famously said, "The trouble with Socialism is, sooner
or later, you run out of other people's money."
Rattner Isn’t Saying About GM’s ‘Turnaround’
By Dan Ikenson, Forbes Magazine,
November 17 2010
Rattner is like the foil
in Frederic Bastiat’s excellent, but not-famous-enough, 1850 parable, That
Which is Seen and That Which is Unseen. Rattner touts
what is seen, namely that GM and Chrysler still exist. And they exist
because of his and his colleagues’ commitment to a plan to ensure their
survival, along with the hundreds of thousands (if not millions, as
some "estimates" had it) of jobs that were imperiled had
those companies vanished. (For starters, I very much question even
what is seen here. I am skeptical of the counterfactual that GM and Chrysler
would have disappeared and that there would have been significantly more
job loss in the industry than there actually was during the recession and
restructuring. But I’ll grant his view of what is seen because, frankly,
the specifics are irrelevant in the final analysis)....
All along (quite contemptuously
oped, which I criticized here)
Rattner has been unwilling to acknowledge the costs that are unseen.
Those unseen costs include:
the added uncertainty that pervades
the private sector and assigns higher risks and thus higher costs to investing
and hiring (whom might government favor or punish next?);
the diversion of resources from
productive to political purposes in the business community (instead of
buying that machinery to churn out better or more lawn mower engines, better
to hire lobbyists to keep Washington apprised of how important we are or
how this or that policy might be beneficial to the national employment
excessive risk-taking and other
uneconomic behavior that falls under the rubric of moral hazard from entities
that might consider themselves too-big-to-fail (perhaps, even, the New
growing aversion to—and rising
cost of—corporate debt (don’t forget what happened to Chrysler’s "preferred"
bondholders in the bankruptcy process!);
the sales and market share that
should have gone to Ford or Honda or VW as part of the evolutionary market
the fruitful R&D expenditures
of those more disciplined companies;
the expansion of job opportunities
at those companies and their suppliers;
productivity gains passed on
to workers in the form of higher wages or to consumers as lower prices;
the diminution of the credibility
needed to discourage foreign governments from meddling in markets, often
to the detriment of U.S. enterprises.
The list goes on.
States will Gain Seats, High-Tax States will Lose Them
From Small Government Times,
November 17 2010
Migration from high-tax states
to states with lower taxes and less government spending will
dramatically alter the composition of future Congresses, according
to a study by Americans for Tax Reform.
Eight states are projected
to gain at least one congressional seat under reapportionment following
the 2010 Census: Texas (four seats), Florida (two seats), Arizona, Georgia,
Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington (one seat each). Their average
top state personal income tax rate: 2.8 percent.
By contrast, New York and
Ohio are likely to lose two seats each, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will be
down one apiece. The average top state personal income tax rate in these
loser states: 6.05 percent.
I received a check
from the California Teachers Association today, for $383. Why?
By Darren, Right on the
Left Coast, November 17 2010
"To compel a man to furnish
funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful
and tyrannical." --Thomas Jefferson
# # #