North Archives - February 19, 2008
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State of Denial
By Robert Maynard
Our economic crisis is brought
about by an excessive amount of spending, taxing and regulating. This iron
triangle of big momma government strangles far too much of creative entrepreneurial
activity which a growing and vibrant economy sorely needs. The real problem
is a mentality that sees government as the solution to every possible social
problem. Even so-called "conservative" politicians talk about growing our
economy so that we can afford more of the social engineers’ pet programs.
The question of whether government is really the best instrument to deal
with highly complex social problems is never raised, much less debated.
The only question is whether the current direction is affordable.
It is time to step back and
re-frame the whole debate. Not only is our current direction unaffordable,
but it is unlikely to solve complex social problems, in fact, it is more
likely to make them worse. The over spending and fiscal train wreck we
are headed toward is merely symptomatic of a more fundamental problem.
We are squeezing out Civil Society by allowing government to usurp the
social roles that are more properly a function of the voluntary institutions
of the private sector. In pointing this out, I am not making an anti-government
rant. It is a simple fact that government is a blunt instrument and is
competent in addressing a limited number of areas. We have strayed FAR
beyond those areas in which government is competent and are reaping the
fruits of straying so far.
many Vermonters get to stay and enjoy the Simple Life?
By James Ehlers
Given the number of people
interested in the quaint notion of agriculture, however, we should take
a closer look at the futility of getting too carried away with the romanticism
of the "simple life" of yesteryear. The agricultural or carbohydrate economy
of the past needs land. At Vermont’s height of agricultural production,
roughly 80 percent of the 5.9 million acres of the landscape was farmed.
Today, it is about 20 percent, just the reverse.
The Vermont population in
2006 was 623,908, give-or-take, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now,
according to the experts in this field of energy, most notably Huber and
Mills, the rural American family of four of the past needed 40 acres to
subsist—forest to cut for fuel, fields to farm, fields for pasture, and
fields to grow more fuel. Doing the math:
A 37,977 plot deficit results,
and that assumes planting and putting to pasture almost all of the state
but mountain tops and swamp bottoms. So who leaves?
4.72 million acres (80 percent
of 5.9 million) divided by 40 acres equals 118,000 forty-acre plots available
for average-size families (4 people).
623,908 divided by 4 (the family
value used above) equals 155,977 or the number of plots necessary.
You Like a Fig Leaf with that Latte?
By Martin Harris
official studies, documenting the breadth and depth of the anti-business
climate in Vermont, are by now sitting on the desks of corporate-placement/site
selection consultants everywhere, and may well be the cause of the new,
shorter, "dwell-time" during which companies are willing to try to satisfy
the participants in the now-typical Vermont planning and zoning process
before abandoning the effort and diverting their capital-investment budgets
elsewhere; we don’t know and they won’t say. Instead, Starbuck’s, for example,
merely blames it all on a corporate retrenchment in long-term store-opening
strategy and a new focus on customer "experience" instead. It would, indeed,
be highly improbable for them to say, directly, of the Vermont P&Z
process, "S**w this, we’re outta here".
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
The Racial Policies of
Media darling Barack Obama
seems likely to get the Democratic nod for president this year. But what
the major media isn’t telling us is that Obama’s church in Chicago, Trinity
United Church of Christ, endorses the virulent racial policies of Nation
of Islam leader Louis Farakhan. Farakhan has repeatedly made hate-filled
statements attacking Jews, whites, America, and homosexuals.
Tucker Carlson of MSNBC described
Trinity as having a "racially exclusive theology that contradicts the basic
tenets of Christianity".
Americans may come to a different
view of Obama when they consider what his ties to Trinity United Church
tell us about his true beliefs and character.
"Based on strikingly irrational
beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important
principles on which our freedoms were founded, … Like spoiled, angry children,
they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand
that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."
-- Dr. Lyle H. Rossiter,
Jr., a forensic psychiatrist, explains the madness of liberalism in
his new book The
Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
the Petition to Send ‘em Packing!
From the Vermont Republican
It costs $56,000 taxpayer
dollars a day to keep the Vermont legislature in session. Yesterday, for
one example, the Senate and House spent that $56,000 on decriminalizing
pot and ramming through an incumbent
protection measure masquerading as campaign finance "reform." Clearly,
these people have too much time on their hands!
Please sign this petition
in support H.R.22
establishing a shorter, fixed, 90 day session for the Vermont legislature.
This would save $1,000,000 in 2008 alone, and the money used to help low
income Vermonters with their home heating bills.
Cate. You Are Right. Now Do Something About It!
Caledonian Record Editorial,
Education Commissioner Richard
Cate, in reviewing New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) tests
of 3rd- through 8th-grade Vermont students, stated bluntly that Vermont's
public schools aren't meeting the needs of more than half of their students.
His admission included the fact that NECAP results have remained flat for
several years and that underperforming students aren't doing any better
while above average students are bored.
You Calling A Tax Raiser?
From VermontTiger.com, February
With no money to spend (they
blew it last payday), and a long wish-list of things they want to buy,
the troops in Montpelier are getting
surly. Legislative leaders are accusing the administration of
raising taxes by stealth:
Symington, and Janus
Caledonian Record Editorial,
February 15, 2008
The Democratic leadership
in Montpelier seems to have discovered and fallen in love with the term
"déjà vu." It means "already seen," and it usually signifies
the dawning realization that we have seen, or we have done, or we have
visited something previously. That describes Senate President Pro Tem Peter
Shumlin's and House Speaker Gaye Symington's stubborn return to issues
that were settled in the past. Right now, they are fixated on reversing
the governor's vetoes, last year, of campaign financing and energy efficiency,
and on repealing the two-tier vote on school budgets that remain within
the mandated formula of the inflation rate plus one percent or face a revote
on the amount in excess of it.
Cut in Jeopardy due to Uncertainty about Lottery Lease
By Nancy Remsen, Free Press,
February 13, 2008
Members of the House tax-writing
committee said Tuesday they didn't see how they could support cuts to the
statewide property tax rates next year without more concrete information
about a proposal to lease the state lottery, which is the way the Douglas
administration would pay for the tax cuts… The Douglas administration has
never considered leasing the lottery without legislative approval, Reardon
said later. "It was a significant enough transaction we felt we just should
involve the Legislature."
Did The Money Go? We Spent It
From VermontTiger.com, February
Just about everyone in the
Vermont legislature -- in the administration, too, for that matter -- is
old enough to remember the last recession and even the one before that.
But perhaps they thought there would never be another; that the good times
were here to stay. On the other hand, they may have realized that
we'd see hard times again but decided, "the hell with it, let's spend it
now; we'll figure something out."
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
By Ray Robison, The American
Thinker, February 11, 2008
Another top NATO general
is going on the record about our success in Afghanistan, though you are
unlikely to hear about such things from the mainstream media that prefer
a narrative of failure.
Last week I reported
that comments from Army Gen. Dan McNeill, the U.S. commander of NATO forces
in Afghanistan went nearly unreported in the US media. The General claimed
that the rise in violence in Afghanistan was not an indication of Taliban
resurgence but of increasing NATO aggressiveness. In short, that we are
winning, albeit there are challenges ahead. There is no need to detail
the challenges here because the liberal media works overtime to do that
on the March: The Return of the Red Square Parades
By Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., The
Heritage Foundation, February 11, 2008
As Yogi Berra once said,
"This is déjà vu all over again." On May 9, heavy military
equipment will once again roll down Moscow's Red Square for the Victory
Day military parade. Tanks, missiles, and 6,000 troops will be joined overhead
by Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter aircraft and military helicopters. The last
time Moscow saw such a display of military hardware on Red Square was in
November 1990, before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
By Rt. Hon. Lord Waddington,
Human Events, February 13, 2008
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution,
the Iranian regime has been the principal state sponsor of terrorism across
the globe, with innocent civilians in London, Berlin, and Paris, and even
as far as Buenos Aires, Beirut, and the Horn of Africa the victims. Since
the Coalition ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan and took control of Iraq,
Iranian-make weapons have been responsible for a major part of British
and U.S. armed forces’ deaths in Iraq, and Iranian-sponsored insurgents
under orders from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have been instrumental
in sowing sectarian discord and strife costing countless Iraqi lives.
Iran’s mullahs have also
been the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East and Lebanon; and now
in 2008 Khomeini’s legacy of terror sponsorship continues with radical
Palestinian and Lebanese groups Hamas and Hizballah still receiving funds
and ideological counsel from Tehran’s theocratic dictatorship.
By W. Thomas Smith, Jr.,
Human Events, February 12, 2008
The first duty of government,
as Adam Smith wrote in 1776, is defense which can only be accomplished
by means of a military force. Our federal government is Constitutionally
charged "to provide for the common defense." Yet that essential function
is literally on the verge of collapse, descending into a proverbial black
hole of debt, skyrocketing costs, poor planning, Beltway politics, and
And millions -- many on the
government dole and their political heroes who champion abstract "change"
-- are ignoring the descent, mindless of what the end result will mean
for us and our children's future.
Though our military personnel
are presently dominating the battlefield in all corners, their ability
to continue to do so is no longer a "given." In fact, the American military
force-structure is so broken, our front-line air-superiority fighters are
literally falling out of the sky. Pilots have been killed. Entire Air Force
fighter fleets have been grounded. And airmen have been cut from the force
just to pay some of the bills.
of Muslim Brotherhood's General Strategic Goals for North America Memorandum
By Pentagon Joint Staff
analyst Stephen Coughlin
The following is a brief
analysis of a Muslim Brotherhood document entered into evidence in the
U.S. v Holy Land Foundation trial (Trial) that the U.S. Justice Department
is currently prosecuting in Federal Court. Analysis is based on this document
as well as other publicly available documents. ...
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN CHARGE
IN NORTH AMERICA
The Memorandum expressly
recognizes the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikkwan) as the controlling element.
For example, the first authority identified as the basis of the Memorandum
is the Muslim Brotherhood:
The general strategic goal of
the Group in America which was approved by the Shura Council and the Organizational
Conference for the year 1987 in "Enablement of Islam in North America,
meaning: establishing the effective and stable Islamic Movement led by
the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims’ causes domestically and globally,
and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and
directing Muslims’ efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative,
and supports the global Islamic State wherever it is."
Michael Ledeen, Faster,
Please!, February 13, 2008
Imad Mughniyah has reportedly
gone to his virgins. I say "reportedly" because you never really know with
him. He has changed his appearance in the past, even, I am told, his fingerprints,
and is altogether capable of feigning his death. As Tom Jocelyn has tirelessly
he was in cahoots with al Qaeda, and moved between Lebanon, Syria, Iran
and Iraq. I have long believed he was the key Iranian operative in Iraq,
and his documented contacts with Zarqawi show that.
No surprise that he was in
Damascus when destiny apparently claimed him. Hezbollah was a joint Iranian-Syrian
operation in which the Iranians ran the organization and Syria provided
the base, and logistical support. As I was the first to report, he flew
with Iranian President Ahmadi-Nezhad to Damascus for high-level meetings
with Bashar Assad and key Syrian military and intelligence officers a while
back. So he had very high standing among the terror masters.
# # #
Ken Fisher, Forbes, February
The worrywarts seek a parallel
to today's market and think they see it in 1930: credit crunch, rising
unemployment, financial institutions in trouble. So we must be in for a
ferocious bear market. I seek a parallel and find it only ten years ago.
And that makes me bullish.
Early 1998 saw financial
crises eerily similar to today's and a lot of hand-wringing about institutions
collapsing and setting off a domino chain of other collapses. But guess
what? The S&P 500 was up 28% that year.
Challenge to Obama
Hope, my friends, is a powerful
thing. I can attest to that better than many, for I have seen men’s hopes
tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience. And I stood
astonished at the resilience of their hope in the darkest of hours because
it did not reside in an exaggerated belief in their individual strength,
but in the support of their comrades, and their faith in their country.
My hope for our country resides
in my faith in the American character, the character which proudly defends
the right to think and do for ourselves, but perceives self-interest in
accord with a kinship of ideals, which, when called upon, Americans will
defend with their very lives.
To encourage a country with
only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength
and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.
is Dead; Long Live Conservatism?
By Selwyn Duke, American
Thinker, February, 4 2008
Perhaps one reason we're
losing the culture war is that it's easier to convince people to try new
liberal mistakes than retain old liberal mistakes that have been tried
and found wanting. Regardless, we will continue losing unless we
change our thinking radically.
Wars are not won by being
defensive. Yet conservatives are seldom anything but, because they've
been trained to mistake defense for offense. When 13 states voted
to ban faux marriage in 2004, some proclaimed it a great victory for conservatism.
But it only was so if the conservatism you subscribe to merely involves
maintenance of a liberal status quo, for it was a successful
defensive action, not an offensive one. Who was proposing the
societal change to which the vote was a response? The left was.
What kind of change was it? One that would move us in the liberal
So it is always. We
play defense when, instead of striving to eliminate hate-crime laws, we
merely fight proposals to make "transgendered" a protected category; when
we accept the Federal Department of Education and simply use it to effect
"conservative" education reform (read: No Child Left Behind Act); when
we simply try to ensure that the separation of church and state ruling
is applied in "conservative" ways; when we combat the tax-and-spend crowd
by not taxing but then spending; and when we preach against illegal immigration
while accepting a culture-rending legal immigration regime.
Stimulate the Economy, Liberate It
Yaron Brook, Forbes.com,
February, 14 2008
While some in Washington
are quibbling about the details of the economic stimulus package, nearly
everyone agrees with its basic idea: that our ailing economy needs Uncle
Sam to play doctor and hand out some $150 billion in consumer spending
money. But this sort of government intervention is not the cure for our
economic troubles. It is the cause.
To understand why, we must
first recognize that the key economic activity that causes growth is not
consumer spending but production.
Health Plan Not So Harmless
By Benjamin Zycher, Investor's
Business Daily, February 14, 2008
Ostensibly, the Democratic
candidates recognize the importance of private insurance options, and the
proposals add a Medicare-like government insurance option to provide enhanced
competition driven by supposedly lower administrative costs.
The larger reality is very
different: The government option would crush competition and render meaningless
the Democratic promise to preserve choice. That is because the proposals
would lead inexorably to a single-payer (government) system of health insurance
in which private coverage would become extinct.
Global Tax Proposal Up for Senate Vote
By Cliff Kincaid Accuracy
in Media February 12, 2008
Senator Joe Biden, chairman
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not endorsed either Senator
Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But on Thursday,
February 14, he is trying to rush Obama's "Global Poverty Act" (S.2433)
through his committee. The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending
0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to
a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S.
already spends. ...
The legislation itself requires
the President "to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further
the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of
global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement
of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion
of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per
The bill defines the term
"Millennium Development Goals" as the goals set out in the United
Nations Millennium Declaration, General Assembly Resolution
# # #