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True North Archives - December 22, 2009
Radio | Editorial | News & Views

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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 Radio airs daily on WDEV AM & WDEV FM from 11 am to noon.


Featured Articles

Fat Cat Pat
By Rob Roper

It was equally outrageous to read in the December 16, 2009, Wall Street Journal (read about it here) that Vermont’s senator Patrick Leahy, along with four other senators, similarly exploited taxpayer funds to treat himself and his wife to a trip to England. According to the story, Leahy spent four days on our dime at the Danesfield House Hotel & Spa at $340-a-night. The state business Leahy was supposedly tending to in order to justify this junket included a riverboat trip down the Themes and a private tour of Windsor Castle.
    

Is Christmas Relevant?
By Mark Shepard

Humanity is creative and desires to express that creativity.  True faith cannot be forced upon someone.  Vast power (control of resources) invites corruption, whether in business, politics, government, or religion.  Left unbounded by inner moral guides or external militant guides, people and cultures self-destruct.  Incredible transformation and healing does result when people bond with their Creator.  Indeed these human experiences align with the Biblical presentation of humanity.

Ideas do have consequences.  Ideas that ring true with life experience yield better results for us individually and for cultures.  This Christmas, consider investigating genuine Biblical Christianity directly from its source document and resting your future in ideas that ring true and truly transform.

The French Disease, Redux
By Martin Harris

In the article itself, authors Fred and Harry Siegel recite the stats: "the average City worker receives $107K/year in salary and benefits, while the median annual salary for New York families is $50K". That’s a remarkable but unmentioned parallel to the Vermont situation deplored by the Rutland Herald in a 17 November editorial entitled "The Ruling Class?". Nor do the authors recite the Gallic-reference source, a series of Wall Street Journal articles and commentary, years ago, which described French governance as dominated by the abnormally large numbers of government employees and income-re-distribution recipients, and called the phenomenon "the French Disease". Vermont, with a ratio of government employees-to-total-population which is usually #1 or 2 in an all-State ranking in year-to-year studies, can legitimately be similarly labeled, something your scribe has occasionally done in this space, always identified as "redux" (a little press-room Latin lingo, there).

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This Week’s Mail Bag

ClimateGate: Worse Than I Thought 

When I sent out a commentary last Friday on ClimateGate, I realized that I might be creeping out on a limb. New information could come to light to undermine my view. So I have watched this unfold for a week now - and it turns out I had only the tip of a large iceberg of scientific fraud.

Here is a link to a Pajamas Media item by meteorologist Joe D'Aleo, former professor of meteorology at Lyndon State, that plunges into the miasma of fraudulent data manipulation by the global warming fraternity.

I know something of this history of science, and the only (barely) comparable fraud I can recall was Trofim Lysenko's Stalinist genetics.

I hope your newspaper (especially the Sunday Times Argus) will solicit some commentary from Vermont's most ardent global warming shouters.

Chief among them is Alan Betts of Pittsford, who has a PhD in climatology or some such.

Then there's Prof. Jonathan Isham of Middlebury, an environmental economics Ph.D., who got his students to confer a "flat earth award" on anyone who disagreed with people now known to be purveying fraudulent data.

Then there is of course BIll McKibben oif Middlebury, who does not have any scientific credentials, but has vaulted to fame and fortune propagandizing this phony stuff.

Then there's VPIRG (James Moore), who has been hyping the panic to persuade legislators to vote sweeping taxes, subsidies, and regulations to stave of the Menace of Global Warming.

Last but not least is the foremost of those legislators, Sen Peter Shumlin, who I call the Senator from VPIRG, who wants to be Governor.

I can't wait to hear their excuses and explanations, and I'm sure your readers will be interested.

John McClaughry
Ethan Allen Institute
4836 Kirby Mountain Rd.
Concord VT 05824

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Quotable

"Though 'none by searching can find out God, or the Almighty to perfection,' yet I am persuaded, that if mankind would dare to exercise their reason as freely on those divine topics as they do in the common concerns of life, they would, in a great measure, rid themselves of their blindness and superstition, gain more exalted ideas of God and their obligations to him and one another, and be proportionally delighted and blessed with the views of his moral government, make better members of society, and acquire, manly powerful incentives to the practice of morality, which is the last and greatest perfection that human nature is capable of.

-- Ethan Allen "Reason: The Only Oracle Of Man A Compendious System Of Natural Religion" Chapter I Section I - Of Reforming Mankind from Superstition and Error, and the Good Consequences of it.

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

VT Democrat Seeks to Undo Increase on Capital Gains
By Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press Bureau, Times Argus, December 14, 2009

At least one Democrat in the Vermont Senate wants to undo the increase in capital-gains taxes that leaders of her own party championed earlier this year.

Increasing taxes on capital gains – income accrued through investments as opposed to wages – according to Chittenden County Senator Hinda Miller, will have a chilling effect on the entrepreneurial start-ups she says are needed to revitalize the Vermont economy.

Senator Illuzzi Pursuing Fetal Justice
Caledonia Record Editorial, December 19, 2009

A few weeks ago, Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, listened to a plea for justice from a woman whose twin fetuses were killed by a drunken driver, only to find out that her fetuses had no rights. The perpetrator went free from any charges for those deaths. Senator Sears promised to introduce a bill that would give specific rights to fetuses, thus making it a crime to harm or kill them. Alas, Senator Sears' lobbyist friends, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, jumped him, and Sears lost his courage. He backed out by introducing a bill that, far from giving rights to fetal babies, refers only to "injuries to a pregnant woman."

At the time, we applauded Senator Sears' courage in the face of the intense pressure that he could expect from the abortion industry. We don't applaud him anymore. His substitute bill is a cop out born of political cowardice.

All may be well, though. Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans, stepped into the breach and is introducing a bill that will do what Sears backed away from, i.e. protect parentally chosen fetuses with rights. He plans a bill that would recognize a fetus as a victim under certain criminal statutes. Senator Illuzzi has tried in years past to get such a bill passed, but the pro-choice crowd has ignored him.

By The Numbers: Public K-12 Spending, Enrollment and Staffing
From Vermont Tiger, December 17, 2009

As suggested here Vermont Tiger readers (and their friends and their friends’ friends) are urged to engage in disciplining their school districts’ budgets and in motivating their elected representatives in Montpelier to fundamentally and cost-effectively transform Vermont K-12’s anachronistic structure.

We get what we vote for – both locally and in Montpelier – and the solution begins with us.

Auditor: Schools Could Share More
By Brent Curtis, Rutland Herald, December 18, 2009

A state auditor's report released Thursday shows that there's room to share in Vermont's school supervisory unions.

Based on evidence derived from surveys from 49 of the state's 60 superintendents, the auditor's report indicated that 55 percent of respondents believed they could be sharing more services such as transportation, food service and special education staff.

Should Vermont Cut Number of School Districts?
From WCAX, December 15, 2009

From Burlington to Bennington to Brattleboro, nearly every Vermont town has a school district. A plan before the Vermont Board of Education would change that, reducing the number of districts in the state from 290 to less than two dozen....

"The larger your school and the further away it, becomes the greater the risk you run of alienating students and alienating the community," said Bill Mathis, a former superintendent who opposes the plan.

Related: School Consolidation: Money, Democracy and Community

We Live in Different Worlds
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger, December 17, 2009

More importantly, he said that he believed that the U.S. will have a government run health care system when Congress has the "courage" to stand up to those who "profit off human sickness." ...

Profit, far from being the equivalent of a four-letter word, is what gives us the standard of living that we enjoy.

In a You Tube video, Milton Friedman has a nice discussion of the moral issues involved with an articulate student.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Very Bad News: Iran Now Has Solid-Fuel Missiles
By Jesus Diaz Gizmodo, December 18, 2009

This is really scary news: Iran has successfully tested their Sajjil-2 yesterday. Why is this really scary? Because it is a two-stage solid fuel missile, which represents a giant leap in reaching the continental United States. Here's how:

Iran already has the Shahab- 3, which is capable of reaching Israel and parts of Europe, like the Sajjil-2. But the Shahab-3 uses liquid fuel, which means two things: First, they have to be fueled before launch, something that can be detected by spy satellites, so potential targets can take appropriate countermeasures. Second, the liquid fuel is highly corrosive, greatly affecting the accuracy of the missile by destabilizing it.

The Sajjil-2—which is designed to be a weapon payload carrier, not a peaceful space rocket—uses the same kind of solid fuel technology that the United States uses in the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. That means that they can be perfectly accurate, like the Minuteman III is. But more importantly, these missiles can be safely stored and launched with no preparation or warning.

Insurgents Forced out of Pakistan's Tribal Havens form Smaller Cells in Heart of Nation
By Griff Witte and Joby Warrick, Washington Post Foreign Service, December 19, 2009

Militants forced to flee their havens in Pakistan's mountainous tribal areas are establishing new, smaller cells in the heart of the country and have begun carrying out attacks nationwide, U.S. and Pakistani officials say.

The spread of fighters is an unintended consequence of a relatively successful effort by the United States and Pakistan to disrupt the insurgents' operations, through missile strikes launched by unmanned CIA aircraft and a ground offensive carried out this fall in South Waziristan by the Pakistani army.

U.S. Launched Missile Strikes on Al Qaeda in Yemen, Sources Say
From Fox News, December 18, 2009

The U.S. has launched two missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen, two U.S. officials told Fox News, signaling an escalation of the Obama administration's fight against the terrorist organization.

The politically sensitive strikes Thursday, first reported by ABC News, supplement efforts already under way by the government of Yemen to go after Al Qaeda in the country, the officials told Fox News, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the operation.

The Muslim Brotherhood: Islam, Anti-Semitism and Totalitarianism (Part Two of Four)
By Adrian Morgan, Family Security Matters, December 11, 2009

In Part One, I briefly mentioned veteran Muslim Brotherhood member Youssef Nada and the essay entitled "The Project." The document was discovered in Nada's villa in Campione d'Italia while it was being searched on November 7, 2001. On the same day, Nada was designated as a terrorist under US Executive Order 13224. Nada's home was being searched because the Al-Taqwa bank, which he  co-founded in 1988, was said to have been used to finance terrorism.

While Swiss police were examining the items in Youssef Nada's home, President George W. Bush declared: "Al-Taqwa is an association of offshore banks and financial management firms that have helped al-Qaida shift money around the world." Two days later, Youssef Nada would also be designated as a terrorist by the UN.

Iranian Troops Occupy Oil Field in Iraq, Stoking Tension
By Chip Cummins and Hassan Hafidh, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2009

Iraqi officials said Friday that Iranian troops are occupying part of a disputed oil field along the two countries' border, stirring concerns about an escalation in tensions between Baghdad and Tehran.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh confirmed Iranian troops had seized Well No. 4 in the al-Fakkah oil field.

Mr. Dabbagh said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki chaired a meeting of the national Security Council Friday to discuss the incident.

Related: Iranian Troops Leave Disputed Iraq Oil Field After 'Violation'

Soldiers Of Allah Or Of America: Does Military Know — Or Care?
By Paul Sperry, Investor’s Business Daily, December 15, 2009

The Pentagon has launched a 45-day probe into the Fort Hood massacre, promising to find answers to why it happened and how it can be prevented from happening again. But the investigation may prove an exercise in futility, judging from PC remarks by military brass....

The breakdown in security stems from "fears over offending a member of a religious minority," finds a report by the Westminster Institute, a security think tank. So worried about conveying any notion that it's at war with Islam, the Defense Department has deluded itself into believing that the enemy is bereft of religious motivation.

Though the enemy clearly states that it's waging "jihad," or holy war, against us, it's now taboo to use the term because it risks reinforcing the idea that the U.S. is at war with Islam itself.

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From Elsewhere

Subsidiarity: Where Justice and Freedom Coexist
By Louie Verrecchio, Catholic Exchange, December 17, 2009

What is the Catholic social justice principle known as "subsidiarity"?

If you’re an American and you’re unfamiliar with subsidiarity in this day and age in which the federal government is about the only segment of the economy that’s growing; you better find out in a hurry.

In a nutshell, the principle of subsidiarity states that matters impacting the human person should be addressed by the smallest, least centralized, most localized, competent personal authority possible. The opposite situation is realized when personal affairs are managed by larger; more centralized and detached public authorities.

At the heart of the matter lies a concern for the protection of individual freedom as an inalienable right associated with human dignity, and a prime example of how crucial it is to understand subsidiarity (and to demand that it be duly observed) is staring Americans directly in the face as I write.

The Recession Is Over--No Thanks To Stimulus
By Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein, Forbes, December 15, 2009

Back in the 1981-82 recession, the economy shrank at a 1.6% annual rate for a year and a half. Yet after the Reagan tax cuts took hold, the economy rebounded at a 7.7% annual rate for a year and a half. This time around, the economy contracted at a 2.5% rate for 18 months and is set to rebound at a 4 to 4.5% annual rate. Bigger busts are supposed to lead to bigger recoveries, not smaller ones. But this time, because government spent like crazy, the economy is less dynamic, less robust and less efficient. Summers may be right about the recovery, but he is wrong about the need for more stimulus.

Democrats Suicide Pact: Health Care Predictions
From Neoavatara, December 21, 2009

In the early morning hours of December 21st, Democrats in the Senate guaranteed their own political suicides.

Now that the Democrats have done what Democrats do, and bribe and cajole people to sign on to a useless bill in the name of political gain only, the question is what happens next.  Minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy to delay and deter the Democrats ultimately appears to be a failure.  No surprise there, with the 60 vote majority in existence.

But what next?  Here are my near and long term predictions...

Related: Change Nobody Believes In

Obama Checked
By the Editors, National Review, December 19, 2009

President Obama could have given the global environmentalist movement the crippling deal it wants — a binding commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and a financial commitment to help developing countries do the same. And to be sure, he put these things on the table. But he conditioned them upon receiving binding and verifiable promises to cut emissions from the developing world, which were not forthcoming. Given the circumstances, he had little choice but to do the responsible thing and punt.??

Let’s not give him too much credit here. In the absence of those commitments, there wasn’t much he could credibly offer. In 1997, the Senate passed a resolution 95-0 stating that it would not ratify any treaty that forced the U.S. to cut emissions while allowing rapidly growing poor countries, such as China and India, limitless freedom to increase theirs. Times have changed, but the Senate is still reluctant to hamstring the American economy for no good reason, as evidenced by the Democrats’ inability to move a cap-and-trade bill this year.

Runaway Debt Must Be Stopped Now
From Investor’s Business Daily, December 15, 2009

Fiscal Errors: The U.S. government's unprecedented spending splurge, with no end in sight, is creating a mountain of debt that endangers both our economy and way of life. Can something be done about it?

Anyone who reads IBD knows we're not doomsayers. Sometimes, in fact, we've been chided for cockeyed optimism in the face of even the gloomiest prognostications. Our faith in America's resilient economy, the world's largest and most creative, and in the productive people who make it go, was reason enough.

That said, we face a rather stark fact today: The current path for U.S. debt is unsustainable.

"Smoking Gun" CBO Memo Exposes Effort to Hide Cost of Obamacare
By Philip Klein, American Spectator, December 16, 2009

Cato's Michael Cannon has been arguing for months that Congressional Budget Office estimates have not been measuring the full price tag of Obamacare, because they aren't taking into account the private sector costs of components such as the insurance coverage mandate. Back in 1994, the CBO did include such costs in its estimates of the Clinton proposal -- and such provisions accounted for 60 percent of the total cost of the legislation.

Today, Cannon points to a CBO memo that was released with little fanfare over the weekend, and calls it the "smoking gun" showing that there has been a concerted effort among Democrats to make sure the CBO does not start taking into account the cost of mandates and new regulations.

The memo concerned a proposal by Sen. Jay Rockefeller -- reportedly part of the now defenct Medicare expansion "deal" reached last week -- that would require insurance companies to spend 90 of the money collected in premiums on medical claims. Their conclusion was: "In CBO's view, this further expansion of the federal government's role in the health insurance market would make such insurance an essentially governmental program, so that all payments related to health insurance policies should be recorded as cash flows in the federal budget."

Vatican Newspaper Slams the Copenhagen Summit over Population Control, "Nihilism"
From Life Site News, December 9, 2009

In a front-page commentary in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano yesterday, the President of the Vatican Bank took the Copenhagen summit to task over its "nihilism," and consequent emphasis on population control and de-industrialization.

"Nihilistic thought, with its rejection of any objective truth and values causes serious damage when applied to economics," wrote Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.  He recalled as an example the "disastrous consequences" of Malthus' argument that population growth causes poverty, as well as the theory that the economy is morally autonomous, which he said has led to an "overly consumerist and materialistic" mentality.

However, he said that, when applied to environmental issues, nihilism produces "even more serious damage." In this case it leads to the attempt "to solve climate problems - where much confusion reigns - through lowering the birth rate and de-industrialization, rather than through the promotion of values that lead the individual to his original dignity."

Climategate: A Scandal for Journalism, Too
By Rich Noyes, Media Research Center, December, 2009 

For more than a decade, the broadcast networks refused to acknowledge scientific skeptics of the Left's global warming alarmism. By indulging their desire to be environmental activists, journalists failed to hold both sides of the debate accountable. If reporters had maintained an unbiased approach to global warming, they conceivably could have uncovered Climategate years ago.

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