North Archives - January 08, 2008
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New Dark Age?
By Robert Maynard
If we are to insist that
Vermont interject itself into national and international issues as a priority,
why not take on a real issue? I have previously written about how the so-called
man-made "Global Warming"/"Climate Change" claim is being pumped up with
a lot of hot air. For that matter, so has John McClaughry and the Ethan
Allen Institute. Instead of invoking a weakly supported theory as an excuse
to control and regulate the entire global economy, perhaps we should examine
the long term threat of fanatical Islam to our civilization.
In a book entitled "America
Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It", Mark Steyn points how just
how big a threat to our civilization Radical Islam could become. At first
glance this notion seems preposterous. We represent the most advanced civilization
that the world has ever known, while radical Islam is stuck in primitive
squalor. In the short run, this may seem so, but it is the long term trend
which has already begun that Mr. Steyn is warning us of. The first part
of the problem is one of demographics. The developed world is aging rapidly
and not reproducing at a rate needed for continued growth. At the same
time, the Islamic world is reproducing at a rate far above replacement
level. America is about in the middle with a birth rate barely above replacement
level. The result of this phenomenon is a rapidly changing demographic
balance. In 1970 the developed nations made up 30 percent of the global
population and the Muslim world made up 15 percent. That was a 2 to 1 difference.
By 2000, a mere 30 years later, there was parity at about 20 percent each.
If anything this trend seems to be accelerating.
The second issue is the level
of confidence in one’s civilization. While we in the west are mired in
nihilism, multicultural relativism and self doubt, radical Muslims have
a fanatical devotion to spreading their cause. This gives them a psychological
strength that the welfare state societies of much of the developed world
can not hope to match.
Past the Graveyard
By Bruce P. Shields
Democrats took control of
the Vermont legislature some years ago promising to improve the State’s
employment prospects -- virtually the same program that Republican Gov.
Douglas ran on at the same time -- and at the same time promising to relieve
taxes on "The Middle Class." The coalition which supports Democrats
(especially government employees organized into unions) is sharply opposed
to any reduction in tax collections, for obvious reasons of self interest.
A second segment of the Democratic coalition (the membership environmental
organizations) opposes any reduction of regulation or of the employee base
interpreting regulations. Consequently, any Democratic response to
the economic criticisms must emphasize things that are going right in Vermont,
in order to reduce pressure to cut taxes or regulations.
Clearly, some features of
Vermont are attractive. Retired people are moving to Vermont, not
to start businesses but to retire from business. A number of non-profit
organizations which fundraise throughout the country have established offices
in Vermont because their employees enjoy living here. Many existing
businesses choose to remain for these same reasons.
Trust-Funder Economy II
By Martin Harris
the arrival of yet another in a long series of demographic studies documenting
the departure of one socio-economic group or another from Vermont, it seems
appropriate yet again to quote FDR --"nothing in politics happens by accident"—and
to ask yet one more time the rhetorical question: is the present pattern
of out-migration, primarily of young families with school—age children,
which explains why public-education enrollments are plummeting, a desired
Montpelier objective or not?
My opinion is that the unquestionably
bright and gifted people whom Vermonters have elected to govern them, for
the last few decades, are far too perceptive, intelligent, and skillful
to allow such fundamental patterns as demographic change to proceed against
their wishes, and therefore I conclude that the economic and population
shifts now well under way are what Montpelier wants: if not overtly, then
at least covertly. If they didn’t want these trends, as they have grown
into 800-pound-gorilla-in-the-room size over the last generation, surely
they would have taken steps to stop and reverse them. They didn’t.
# # #
I predict future happiness
for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors
of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." -- Thomas
"Huckabee opposes school
choice, earning him the coveted endorsement of the National Education Association
of New Hampshire, which is like the sheriff being endorsed by the local
whorehouse." ---Ann Coulter
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Dr. No For Vermonters
Caledonian Record Editorial,
December 31, 2007
A recent news article reports
that the fortunate folks of Oklahoma have a Republican U.S. Senator named
Tom Coburn who is described as a "one man gridlock machine." If only...
Coburn, nicknamed "Dr. No"
(a nickname shared with Rep. Ron Paul, an independent candidate for president),
is credited with single-handedly blocking or slowing 90 bills this year.
Vermont needs a Dr. No. Vermont
actually needs three Dr. No's in Congress to replace the three disciples
of tax and spend currently representing Vermont. Vermont could use another
50 Tom Coburns in the Vermont Legislature. Unfortunately, voters will not
elect a Dr. No until they make a conscious decision to avoid the seductive
claims of politicians like Leahy, Sanders and Welch who claim that thanks
to them, Vermonters are getting the benefits of government without having
to pay for the benefits. Vermonters will have to decide to support a candidate
who will tell Vermonters the truth and offer to stand up for them and fight
to help Vermonters keep their money and their liberty.
Permitting Wars - Part I
From VermontTiger.com, January
The State of Vermont’s own
Study found Vermont businesses feel "Vermonters view
business growth as a threat to their quality of life" and, "this
mindset underlies the obstructionism and capriciousness associated with
the permitting process and regulatory establishment." Despite this
clear and unequivocal statement, Vermonters still debate, on this site
and elsewhere, its truthfulness. Pretending for a moment that it
even matters if the perception is true or not, I’m going to analyze actual
cases to shed some light on why businesses might believe our regulatory
system is capriciously implemented and administered.
Change Tops Agenda
From WCAX-TV, January 2,
Democratic Speaker Gaye Symington
is coming back to the statehouse, renewing her efforts to pass a climate
"The pace at which fuel
costs are increasing and the lost opportunity of not passing that bill
definitely weighs heavily on me."
Last year it was Democrats'
number one priority, they spent weeks learning about the issue. But all
that work produced no new laws, because after attaching a funding source
that taxed Vermont Yankee, Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, vetoed the bill.
The tax was controversial even among Democrats, and despite their strong
numbers, they could not override the veto.
Hear the Drumbeat, Please!
Caledonian Record Editorial,
January 03, 2008
The fiscal collective tin
ear of the Democratic leadership makes it necessary for us to point up
the obvious. Vermonters are drowning in too high taxes, too many taxes,
too many free services to people who can afford to pay for them, too many
expensive nanny-state programs, a bloated incoming tide of public employees,
and the liberal delusion that we can afford them all. We urge our legislators
to listen to the drumbeat and resist new or expanded programs that require
new or expanded taxes...
from Political Lingo to English
From VermontTiger.com, January
I received a piece of constituent
mailing from Representative Peter Welch this week, touting his concern
for the middle class and his achievements over the past year. But
what really interested me was the tear off (my stamp required) where I
am supposed to tell Rep. Welch my priorities. It says:
Rank the top three issues
that would help you make ends meet:
My view of the list is probably
not the same as Rep. Welch. Here is how I translate them from political-speak
Workers Can Mean Loss of Jobs
From The Burlington Free
January 4, 2008
For those who have trouble
grasping how the coming shortage of workers in Vermont predicted by some
economists could hurt even those who have jobs, here's a handy illustration.
People who work for the telephone survey company Macro International's
call center in St. Albans find themselves facing what seems like a Catch-22:
They will lose their jobs because their employer was unable to fill jobs.
Macro decided to close its St. Albans operations after choosing to forgo
an upgrade to the call center given the trouble the company has had in
filling jobs there. When the center closes at the end of the month, Franklin
County will lose six full-time and 35 part-time jobs paying $8.30 an hour.
The worker shortage affects more than the high-skilled, high-tech fields.
The shortage can affect Vermont's ability to hang on to even jobs that
pay little better than the minimum wage.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Pacific Arms Race
By Robert Maginnis,Human
Events, January 04, 2008
On December 17, the Japanese
Self-Defense Force’s JS Kongo (DDG-173), a guided missile destroyer, fired
a US Standard SM-3 interceptor which quickly destroyed its ballistic missile
target about 100 miles above the Hawaiian Islands. The US Missile
Defense Agency called the intercept a "major milestone" and Japan’s defense
minister called the test "extremely significant." ...
More daunting for Japan’s
neighbors is the fact that Tokyo’s BMD investments are linked to the US
missile defense system. In the Pacific the US boasts more than 20
ground-based interceptors, 18 sea-based missiles, hundreds of PAC-3 Patriots
and intends to create a multilayered system with hundreds of interceptors
to include other programs like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) and the Airborne Laser (ABL). These systems are guided by
early warning satellites, radar complexes and more than a dozen Aegis-equipped
cruisers and destroyers.
The growing US-Japanese missile
shield seriously diminishes North Korea’s fledgling missile threat and
the second order effect is to marginalize China’s strategic balance and
perhaps even Russia’s.
And The Anti-U.S. Iraq Narrative
From Investor's Business
Daily, January 04, 2008
Media: A 2006 study claiming
that more than 600,000 Iraqis had been killed in the war was eagerly embraced
by the press. Yet again, journalists' hatred for President Bush allowed
them to be taken in by a fraud.
chilling warning to UK
By Oliver Harvey, Chief
Feature Writer in Kahuta, Pakistan, The Sun, December 31, 2007
A FANATICAL Pakistani cleric
told The Sun yesterday of his chilling dream to turn the world Muslim –
by force if necessary. Qari Hifzur Rehamn, 60, spoke openly of imposing
Islamic law’s stoning and beheading on Britain – as Pakistan was rocked
by unrest over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He warned: "We want
Islamic law for all Pakistan and then the world.
Murder: Al Qaeda’s Security Blanket
By Walid Phares, Family
Security Matters, January 2 2008
Former Pakistani Prime Minster
Benazir Bhutto was murdered by the combined forces of Jihadism in Pakistan
because of her potential actions in that country. In short, Jihadists executed
her to preempt her future war of ideas. This is the bottom line, and here
The long-term plan of the
Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan during the 1990s was to eventually
spread to Pakistan and seize power and ultimately, after 1999, to seize
Pakistan’s nukes, too. Miscalculating on September 11th, Osama bin Laden
lost Kabul and the Jihadi war room crossed over to their eastern neighbor.
Plan B was then to seize Waziristan and gradually Talibanize the country,
grabbing the "doomsday" devices in the end.
By Bill Gertz, The Washington
Times, January 4, 2008
Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon
specialist on Islamic law and Islamist extremism, has been fired from his
position on the military's Joint Staff. The action followed a report in
this space last week revealing opposition to his work for the military
by pro-Muslim officials within the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon
Mr. Coughlin was notified
this week that his contract with the Joint Staff will end in March, effectively
halting the career of one of the U.S. government's most important figures
in analyzing the nature of extremism and ultimately preparing to wage ideological
war against it. He had run afoul of a key aide to Mr. England, Hasham Islam,
who confronted Mr. Coughlin during a meeting several weeks ago when Mr.
Islam sought to have Mr. Coughlin soften his views on Islamist extremism.
Mr. Coughlin was accused
directly by Mr. Islam of being a Christian zealot or extremist "with a
pen," according to defense officials. Mr. Coughlin appears to have become
one of the first casualties in the war of ideas with Islamism.
Directly To Jihad, Do Not Pass Gitmo
By Randall Hoven, The American
Thinker, January 02, 2008
Everyone, it seems, from
Rights Watch to Amnesty
International to Hollywood
and even to former Secretary of State Colin
Powell, is upset with our treatment of Guantanamo detainees and thinks
GTMO should be closed. Here are the facts:
(1) a large
number, perhaps a majority, of GTMO detainees have already been released;
(2) a good number
of those have returned to their deadly jihadi ways, where by their own
words "jihad" means "we will attack them in the US and Britain until they
either accept Islam or agree to pay jizya."
And now there is a connection
to the Bhutto assassination. In mid-2005, NPR reported
that, "at its height, Guantanamo Bay held about 750 prisoners." By
the spring of 2006, 538 Guantanamo detainees had been released.
By the summer of 2007, the Pentagon reported
that "at least 30 former GTMO detainees have taken part in anti-coalition
militant activities after leaving U.S. detention." Since "the US
government does not generally track ex-GTMO detainees after repatriation
or resettlement," one could surmise that those 30 were only a fraction
of former detainees who have returned to militant activities or other anti-US
# # #
Government Plans, It Usually Fails
By Randal O'Toole, The Cato
After more than 30 years
of reviewing government plans, including forest plans, park plans, watershed
plans, wildlife plans, energy plans, urban plans and transportation plans,
I've concluded that government planning almost always does more harm than
Most government plans are
so full of fabrications and unsupportable assumptions that they aren't
worth the paper they are printed on, much less the millions of tax dollars
spent to have them written. Federal, state and local governments should
repeal planning laws and shut down planning offices.
Everybody plans. But private
plans are flexible, and we happily change them when new information arises.
In contrast, special-interest groups ensure that the government plans benefiting
them do not change -- no matter how costly. Like any other organization,
government agencies need to plan their budgets and short-term projects.
But they fail when they write comprehensive plans (which try to account
for all side effects), long-range plans or plans that attempt to control
other people's land and resources. Many plans try to do all three.
Huckabee's New Deal:
More God, More Government
By David J. Sanders, The
Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2008
But one wonders whether his
newfound supporters would really say that if they took a close look at
his policies. With increasing frequency, Mr. Huckabee invokes his faith
when advocating greater government involvement in just about every aspect
of American life. In doing so, Mr. Huckabee has actually answered the prayers
of the religious left.
Since John Kerry's defeat
in 2004 at the hands of at least a few "values voters," the Democratic
Party has been trying to take back God, even launching a Faith in Action
initiative at the Democratic National Committee. Meanwhile, a small but
organized group of liberal religious leaders and faith-based political
activists has been trying to convey the message that, as one recent book
had it, "Jesus rode a donkey." They argue that increasing the government's
role in the fight against global warming, poverty and economic inequality
is a biblical imperative. They usually de-emphasize the importance of abortion
and gay marriage in their agendas, lest they offend the secularist wing
of the party.
Father of Postmodernism and Anti-rationalism—Part 4
The Roots of Collectivism
By Reginald Firehammer,
There is something else Gramsci
and Hume had in common—they are both thoroughgoing collectivists. Gramsci's
Marxism is obviously collectivist but it may not be as obvious that Hume
was an unabashed collectivist, as well.
[Note: By collectivism
I mean that principle, which in any form, stands against its opposite,
Collectivism, in most people's minds, is usually associated with a government
or political system, but collectivism is a fundamental concept, of which
collectivists states are only one manifestation. Collectivism is anything
that subordinates the individual to some collective, that is, any group,
organization, movement, or cause; most frequently, one's community, society,
country, or all mankind. It is not being a member of a group that makes
one a collectivist; but, to the extent one subordinates their own desires,
plans, purposes, resources, or any other aspect of their life to those
of a group on the grounds the group's ends are more important than one's
own, and to the extent an individual derives their sense of self-worth,
purpose, or meanig from their association with a group rather than from
their own merit, values, and understanding, they are collectivists.] In
Enquiry into the Principles of Morals "Section II, Of Benevolence,
Part II," Hume wrote:
"We may observe that, in
displaying the praises of any humane, beneficent man, there is one circumstance
which never fails to be amply insisted on, namely, the happiness and satisfaction,
to society from his intercourse and good offices."
Conservative Tide in Major Democracies
By Bruce Walker, The American
Thinker, January 01, 2008
When things are going poorly
for the Left, count on it to change the subject. After the surge
refused to fail, the surge ceased to be news. Recall four years ago,
when "all" the leaders of our major democratic friends were hostile to
America, to our liberation of Iraq, and in particular to President Bush?
Remember how Senator Kerry said that leaders of Europe privately wanted
him to win the presidency? That news has ceased to become newsworthy.
Why? Because, like the surge, the sentiment in major democracies has turned
The most outstanding example,
of course, is the change in France. Sarkozy, a frankly pro-American
French president, took office and completely transformed the policies of
his nation (precisely as I had predicted he would in many articles over
the period of years preceding his election.) Next most vital was
the selection, after a very odd Bundestag election, of Angela Merkel as
chancellor of Germany. Although much less flamboyant than Sarkozy,
Merkel is quietly supportive of America and Israel, leading Palestinians
during her visit to the Holy Lands to complain that she was "more pro-Israel
than the Israelis." Our neighbor to the north, Canada, also replaced
the anti-American Grits with Conservative Stephen Harper. Tony Blair
left of his own accord in Britain, but his Labour Party remains to the
Left of the Conservative Party, the logical and historical intra-national
ally of America.
Still A Problem
By Mike Franc, Human Events,January
That tension between national
and parochial interests has manifested itself with a vengeance in a quiet,
but potentially dramatic, internal debate now raging within the White House
and on Capitol Hill over how best to handle the thousands of special-interest
spending provisions -- known as "earmarks" -- which lawmakers stuffed into
the gargantuan, end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill. President Bush recently
signed this $554.7 billion monster into law, but expressed profound reservations
over the rampant earmarking in it. Despite repeated promises by lawmakers
to kick their habit, nothing much changed over the last year. Altogether,
in 2007 Congress approved over 11,900 earmarks, many for indefensible purposes.
The list is long and embarrassing but, to choose one at random, how
about Rep. David Hobson’s (R-Ohio) allocation of $800,000 for a new Speedway
SuperAmerica gas station, convenience store and pizza parlor on U.S. Route
42 in Wilberforce, Ohio (population: 2,000)? ...
Lawmakers, of course, represent
narrower constituencies -- Rep. Hobson, for example, was re-elected in
2006 with only 138,000 votes; legendary porker Sen. Ted Stevens won his
statewide election with the support of a mere 179,000 Alaskans. Just how
much so is jarringly evident in Hobson’s pathetic assessment of his 18-year
congressional career. "I’m probably more proud of this earmark," he said
of the SuperAmerica gas station largesse, "and what it will do in the future
than anything I’ve ever done." When veteran lawmakers are reduced to uttering
such inanities, it’s high time to stop the madness.
We Want in a President
By Lawrence B. Lindsey,
The Texas Insider, January 04, 2008
In the next six weeks Americans
are going to pick the two finalists in the long job search for the most
important CEO position on the planet. As someone who has served in three
White Houses and been a Federal Reserve governor during a fourth, I have
become a firm believer that the character traits someone brings to the
job are more important than the issue papers or debate sound bites that
get so much attention in the primaries.
# # #