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True North Archives - December 30, 2008
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

A Tribute to President George W. Bush
By Ruth Dwyer

I knew from state politics how rare humility is at any level of public life, and had personally encountered enough national celebrities to accept its total absence in the political stratosphere. Yet here was a presidential candidate who somehow radiated confidence and a genuine connection to those around him. Those qualities were unexpected in the political arena, but I had certainly encountered them before – in people of profound religious faith.

There are other examples of the "politics of personal destruction" targeting overtly spiritual people in political life prior to Bush; Ken Starr comes to mind. Before investigating Clinton he was well liked, respected, considered bi-partisan in his public activities, no less than Bush was as Governor of Texas. Yet in a short time Starr was vilified, discredited, marginalized – why? Because he sang hymns while jogging. That one fact, continually repeated, was enough to send the press and mot Democrats into a frenzy of revulsion. If Starr had belted out gangsta rap on his morning runs, the focus of his investigation might have remained on the prosecuted rather than the prosecutor, and the course of history altered accordingly. But no. Ken Starr was – gasp – a real Christian! Compared to that, nothing Bill Clinton did seemed particularly sordid.

When Distant Trumps Local (or Doesn’t) Part II
By Martin Harris

If Vermont’s movers and shakers hadn’t recently shed their willingness to look beyond State boundaries for attractive solutions to various problems as they once did (see last week’s column) they might look at underground construction as the resolution for the seemingly intractable in-State development confrontation: the need for new construction to house (taxable) jobs and commerce versus the desire to create a theme-park landscape with meadows, forest, 12-cow barns and wooden silos, as lovingly depicted in most issues of Vermont Life magazine, or, in the absence of that, to protect all existing grass and trees from any sort of replacement by buildings or pavements (see last week’s column)  unless it’s a governmental sponsored or supported project. There’s a chance that even a despised big-box store permit applicant might get his approval if he’d design his building so it couldn’t be seen, except for the front entrance –just like that new ultimate-government-construction example, the Federal Visitors’ Center. To the extent that putting grass and trees on the roof now qualifies zoners and architects to claim credit for a "green" design, an underground Home Depot or McDonald’s might well be acceptable to all the usual suspects, objection-wise; after all, the Volvo’s and Audi’s of the usual objectors are quite frequently seen, parked as discreetly and unobtrusively as possible, in the parking lots of those entities at above-ground locations.

By Tom Wilson

People need frontiers: unoccupied wilderness, space without the clutter of other people's lives. A person's own life can be a frontier, if he learns to live it that way, sets his own boundaries, keeps his own counsel, surveys his own domain. In the vast domain of self autonomy, every free man is a king, a voyager, an explorer, a frontiersman, but only ifhe is first a separatist: one who has cut the ties to the old order, burned bridges, turned from the old established contracts, and pioneered his own path.

Vermont Democrats Should Embrace Obama's Slogan
By John McClaughry

If the Democratic majority in Montpelier needs leadership guidance, they need look no further than their supreme leader, Barack Obama. In naming his director of the Office of Management and Budget on November 25, the President-elect said:

"In these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It is an imperative. We cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of politicians, lobbyists, or interest groups. We simply cannot afford it.

"This isn't about big government or small government. It's about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my new team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges.... We will go through our federal budget - page by page, line by line - eliminating those programs we don't need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way."

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"As government expands, liberty contracts."  --Ronald Reagan

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Citizens Budget cut Ideas from True North Radio
By Paul Beaudry, True North Radio, December, 2008

Recently True North Radio conducted a series of live call in radio shows where the CITIZENS could call in and express their ideas for budget cuts in FY 2009 for the state of Vermont. Host Paul Beaudry set up some very fair rules for all callers.  Callers were not screened and had 1 minute to make suggestions, and had to give name and town.

Third Church Targeted by Gunfire??
By Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, December 23, 2008

A third evangelical church in the Northeast Kingdom was sprayed with bullets over the weekend in an unsettling attack that police believe is part of a pattern. As before, there were no injuries, and the suspect or suspects remain at large.

Brooke Bennett Slaying Voted 2008's Biggest Story in Vermont
From WCAX-TV, December 26, 2008

The biggest news story in Vermont in 2008 was the tragic death of a young girl, and its disturbing aftermath. The killing of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett has been voted the top story of the year by Vermont news organizations.

Budget Cuts Must Be Made And Very Soon
Caledonia Record Editorial, December 23, 2008

Vermont has an increasing deficit, but the responsible committee for doing things when the Legislature is not in session has stuck its head firmly in the sand and refuses to get serious about budget cutting.

Your Bonus Is Bad; But My Raise Is Okay
From Vermont Tiger, December 23, 2008

Peter Welch doesn't want the recipients of Federal bailout money to be paying themselves bonuses this year.  Which seems okay and, perhaps, insufficient to some of us who believe that maybe they shouldn't even have jobs.  I mean, if you are a banker and you bankrupt the bank, isn't that pretty much clear evidence of incompetence ... at best?

But Welch – and everyone else in Congress – will be getting a pay raise next year and you wonder if they could keep a straight face and say it is for "performance."  Their fingerprints all over the scene of the crime and in a just world, they'd be unemployed or breaking rocks ... along with the bankers.

Schools Sue State to Set Tax Rate
By Molly Walsh, Burlington Free Press, December 26, 2008

Pelham has deviated from normal procedure and declined to make a tax rate recommendation on the grounds that forestalling will give Gov. James Douglas and lawmakers flexibility as they wrestle with a fiscal crisis characterized by deep deficits and cuts to many government services. Many school officials are worried that the education surplus will be used to plug the large holes in the state budget.??Instead, it should go back to taxpayers in the form of a cut to the education tax rate, said John Nelson, executive director of the Vermont School Boards Association. "It's time to recognize that there has been an overpayment of property taxes, and it ought to go back to the property taxpayers," Nelson said Wednesday.

Vermont's Reserve Funds - To Spend Or Not To Spend
From Vermont Tiger, December 23, 2008

In the debate over the most effective response to the state’s present financial crisis, there are many who advocate spending the "Rainy Day Fund" reserves.  Some argue that the state is already on the edge and cannot sustain further spending reductions from current levels, while others don’t seem to have the stomach (or political will) to make the hard, priority-based decisions.  There are still others who will always advocate more spending, sometimes as an economic stimulus, without regard for where the funds come from or the consequences.   Several folks at the Tiger have already provided excellent reasons to resist the call to spend the reserve funds, but let me offer a couple more based on my personal experience with the state’s deficits in the early 1990’s.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

DHS 5-year Terrorism Forecast
By Rick Moran, American Thinker, December 26, 2008

A leaked forecast of the prospects for terrorism attacks in the United States over the next 5 years shows that the government appears to be most concerned about a biological attack that could devastate the economy:

A Russian Bailout? Not On Our Dime
From Investor's Business Daily, December 23, 2008

Recession has left many of the world's worst-run economies in roughly the same condition as General Motors. Russia is one of them, and the World Bank thinks they're going to need a bailout. Not so fast.

Mumbai, Corporate Security and Indo-Pakistani Conflict
By Fred Burton, Strategic Forecasters, December 24, 2008

The Trident-Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels in Mumbai reopened Dec. 21, less than one month after the Nov. 26 Mumbai attack that left more than 170 people dead. During that crisis, hotel guests and visitors became trapped after coming under attack from militants using guns, grenades and other weapons to kill indiscriminately. As the investigation into the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack continues, New Delhi has demanded that Islamabad take action to control its militant proxies and militants operating from Pakistan. Because Islamabad has not yet met New Delhi’s demands, Pakistan and India stand on the brink of military confrontation.

The President Comforts a Marine Mom
By William McGurn,The Wall Street Journal, December 23 2008

This Thursday morn, Julie McPhillips will awake to the great hope that is Christmas Day. And amid her joy for the Savior born of woman in a Bethlehem stable, she will offer two prayers.

The first will be for her son, Lt. Brian McPhillips, killed in action in April 2003 as the First Marine Division fought its way into Baghdad. The other will be for the man on whose orders Lt. McPhillips was sent to Iraq: George W. Bush.

Obama's Surge
From Investor's Business Daily, December 23, 2008

The Pentagon will add thousands of troops to Afghanistan next summer, setting up the smart war Barack Obama prefers. We hope he won't one day regret his choice and pull troops out too soon.

Five Convicted in Fort Dix Plot
By Robert Spencer, Human Events, December 24, 2008

According to a recent survey, fewer Americans believe terrorism is a threat now than at any time since September 10, 2001. But if five Muslim men in New Jersey had had their way, this threat might loom larger in the public mind today. These men face life in prison after being convicted Monday of plotting to enter the U.S. Army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey and murder as many soldiers as they could.

The War on Terror Has Not Gone Away
Despite economic woes, this is no time to let our guard down
By Thane Rosenbaum, The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2008

Perhaps it was inevitable that the events of 9/11 would not forever define our national character. And certainly we would be expected to move on to other challenges. But are we unwittingly endangering our national security by the kind of neglect and failed oversight that ruined our economy? Lapsing into the complacency that might expose America to a repeat performance of mass murder is not a sound trade-off for economic health.

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From Elsewhere

Arrogant Conceit
By John Stossel, Creator’s Syndicate, December 17, 2008

Barack Obama wants to use the recession to remake the U.S. economy. "Painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people," Obama said (

His designated chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is more direct: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" (

So they will "transform our economy." Obama's nearly trillion-dollar plan will not merely repair bridges, fill potholes and fix up schools; it will also impose a utopian vision based on the belief that an economy is a thing to be planned from above. But this is an arrogant conceit. No one can possibly know enough to redesign something as complex as "an economy," which really is people engaging in exchanges to achieve their goals. Planning it means planning them.

Related: 'Stimulus' Doesn't Have to Mean Pork

Prominent Scientist Fired By Gore Says Warming Alarm ‘Mistaken’
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, December 22, 2008

Award winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer, who was reportedly fired by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing to adhere to Gore’s scientific views, has now declared man-made global warming fears "mistaken."

"I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken," Happer, who has published over 200 scientific papers, told EPW on December 22, 2008. Happer made his remarks while requesting to join the 2008 U.S. Senate Minority Report from Environment and Public Works Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) of over 650 (and growing) dissenting international scientists disputing anthropogenic climate fears.

[Note: Joining Happer as new additions to the Senate report, are at least 10 more scientists, including meteorologists from Germany, Netherlands and CNN, as well as a professors from MIT and University of Arizona.  See below for full quotes and bios of the  skeptical scientists newly added to the groundbreaking report, which includes many current and former UN IPCC scientists.]

The Pursuit of Happiness ~ Fuzzy Thinking
By Walter Williams, Freeman Online, December Edition

George Orwell warned, "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." That is the challenge—not allowing language and ill-defined terms to corrupt thought—that I face teaching economics to both graduate and undergraduate students. Terms that are widely used can have considerable emotional worth but little or no analytical value, ambiguous meaning, or unappreciated implications. In analytical usage precise, operational definitions must be found.

Theodore Roosevelt Was No Conservative
There's a reason he left the GOP to lead the Progressive Party.
By Ronald J. Pestritto, The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2008

We know that Barack Obama and his allies identify themselves as "progressives," and that they aim to implement the big-government liberalism that originated in America's Progressive Era and was consummated in the New Deal. What remains a mystery is why some conservatives want to claim this progressive identity as their own -- particularly as it was manifested by Theodore Roosevelt.

The fact that conservative politicians such as John McCain and writers like William Kristol and Karl Rove are attracted to our 26th president is strange because, if we want to understand where in the American political tradition the idea of unlimited, redistributive government came from, we need look no further than to Roosevelt and others who shared his outlook.

The Free Market Is Failing? It Just Aint So!
By Steven Horwitz, Freeman Online, December Edition

There is no doubt the U.S. economy has hit a rough patch over the last several months. As is often the case when economic problems make headlines, pundits rush to declare that capitalism is "in trouble," or "is ailing" or even "has failed." This reaction to economic bad news is as old as capitalism itself. It is also consistently wrong. What the pundits fail to realize is that economic problems, from the recent housing and credit crisis to things like the Great Depression, are far more often, if not always, the result of attempts to intervene into the free market rather than failures of capitalism itself.

Taxpayers in Revolt
By Doug French, LewRockwell.

A punk economy is doing what legislators around the country could never do: shrink state and local governments. California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a fiscal emergency because his state is $40 billion in the red and may actually be completely busted by February. He even "ordered state officials to prepare to furlough and lay off employees to cut costs," according to Reuters, which would make the Golden State’s 8.4 percent unemployment rate still worse. ...

Of course that’s the difference between state budgets and the federal government’s. States cannot create fiat money out of thin air to pay bills. The federal government has a central bank at its disposal to create money and subversively tax people by making their money worth less.

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