North Archives - March 30, 2010
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and the Destruction of Western Civilization
If we are serious about defending
our heritage of liberty from this latest attack, we had better gain an
understanding about the nature of the attacker. A good place to start with
is by looking into the life and thought of Sayyid Qutb. Sayyid Qutb was
one of the most important figures in the development of jihadi Salafi
ideology. As pointed out on the Global Security website:
"Salafi is a term often used
to describe fundamentalist Islamic thought. The teachings of the reformer
Abd Al-Wahhab are more often referred to by adherents as Salafi,
that is, "following the forefathers of Islam." This branch of Islam is
often referred to as "Wahhabi," a term that many adherents to this tradition
do not use. … Wahhabism is a particular orientation within Salafism. Most
puritanical groups in the Muslim world are Salafi in orientation, but not
An Occasional Newsletter from the Legislature
By Rep. Thomas F. Koch Barre
it appears that they’ve fixed the leak at Vermont Yankee.
Of course, once people learned something about tritium, we realized that
the problem wasn’t tritium; it was either that Entergy officials couldn’t
read their own blueprints and didn’t know that there were underground pipes
at the plant, or that they knew and lied, or that they found out later
and neglected to report that information as they had promised to do.
We’re not used to such incompetence or deceit in Vermont.
When this particular shoe
dropped, Sen. Peter Shumlin, who as president pro-tem runs the Senate calendar,
saw his opportunity. He scheduled a vote on a bill that would allow
the Public Service Board to rule on Entergy’s petition to keep Vermont
Yankee up and running for another 20 years. Everyone knew that the
vote would be a lopsided rejection of the bill, and everyone knew that
the vote was politically motivated—an effort by Sen. Shumlin to distinguish
himself from the other four Democratic candidates for governor in a five-way
race that appears to be a toss-up. And nobody believes that this
is the final answer. Lobbyists on both sides are still working the
halls as hard as ever, and everyone expects the real decision to be made
Nyet; Neyacnost, Da
By Martin Harris
longer answer is that official State Ed Dept and local district or SU data
for individual schools showing actual square footage and official building
capacity rating are no longer considered publicly-available information.
They were, once: anyone could call the Superintendent’s office, or the
SED, to get such numbers, which were maintained there in a (somewhat)
famous three-ring binder- a data page for each schoolhouse building in
the State, and well-known locally as well. All that past transparency ended
in the mid-90’s, when at a hearing on school costs in Montpelier when I
referred to it, the then-SED legal counsel said "Don’t call us for such
data. The Legislature has deprived us of funds to maintain the notebook
any longer." Since then, my "agents" in Bristol, Middlebury, Brandon, and
Rutland have reported back to me on the refusal of local edu-crats to provide
current numbers, one inquiry being answered in terms of building septic
capacity. I conclude that, just like the Federal NAEP student test scores,
which have been deemed best left unpublicized by the SED, similarly the
data from which anyone could read SF/P indicators have now been deemed
best hidden by official opacity. In the former Soviet Union, "perestroika"
(reconstruction) brought about "glasnost" (transparency); in modern Vermont
education, a different sort of management-policy "perestroika" has brought
about "neyactnost" (opacity). A parallel result of the same shift-to-opacity
at the SED shows up on the web-site of the UVM Center for Rural Studies,
on which the School Report no longer (as of June 09) receives school-by-school
data from the SED, as I reported in this space recently with respect to
budget conflict –enrollment down, staffing and budget up-- in the Norwich
district. There comes a point when the numbers are just too uncomfortable
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you want a more robust Public Option?
think the bill still has some fairly significant flaws but you know we
can work with this. This is what Mitt Romney did essentially in Massachusetts,
but it’s going to take a long time but it’s going to lead to reforms ultimately.
I wouldn’t call this bill reform but I do think it can lead to reform…it’s
going to take a lot more work"
Squawk Box interview occurred on March 25th; two days after President Obama
signed into law the most significant major legislation since
Dean, Philosophically… do you think your party knows…we’ve chosen a different
type of society, more akin to Europe?"
it gets [social inequality] out of whack…you need to do some redistribution.
This is a form of redistribution."
Governor Dean stated, "This is a form of redistribution," and "I wouldn’t
call this bill [health care] reform but I do think it can lead to reform."
If this major legislation doesn’t – yet – provide the kind of health care
change sold to the American public, what "change" actually was sold?
U.S. Senate’s health-care legislation recently passed by the House does
not "reform" America's health-care system. Rather, it provides for
transformative "change." Change to America’s social contract; change to
America’s civil society; and predominately, change to America’s individual
freedoms and its relationship with its government.
century philosopher Edmund Burke writes of this difference between "change"
is…a marked distinction between change and [reform]. [Change] alters the
substance of the objects themselves, and gets rid of all their essential
good as well as of all accidental evil annexed to them…. Reform is not
change in the substance or in the primary modification of the object, but
a direct application of a remedy to the grievance complained of.
So far as that is removed, all is sure. It stops there; and if it fails,
the substance which underwent the operation, at the very worst, is but
where it was."
health-care legislation "changes" the substance of the object; that object
being America's relationship between its citizenry and its government;
a relationship emanated from our Founder’s Declaration of Independence,
Constitution and Bill of Rights. This, I believe, is what Governor
Dean was speaking to; like the proverbial adage of boiling the frog in
the pot of water by – ever so slowly – increasing its temperature, he knows
goals are attained by – ever so slowly - redefining relationships.
is here - the substantive change between the relationship of an individual’s
rights with that of government’s control over both these rights and property
- that our nation’s battle lines are drawn.
not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end."
Weekly News Round-Up
From Vermont Tiger, March
By now, those of us who care
about this sort of thing have had
our fun with Senator Peter Shumlin's appearance on Fox (also
here) where he asserted with his customary sense of confidence
that 30% of Germany's electrical power is solar generated.
As it turns out, the actual
figure comes in at something less than 1%.
Vermont Losing Jobs to China
From WCAX-TV, March 23,
A new report says Vermont
has lost over 6,000 jobs to China in the past decade. Burton Snowboards
is the latest company to export jobs, moving its manufacturing operations
from Vermont to China and Austria. Tubbs Snowshoes is another example of
a company that found a cheaper labor market in China.
According to the Economic
Policy Institute, the United States lost 2.4 million jobs to China between
2001 and 2008, and Vermont lost 6,200 jobs in that same period.
2010: Vermont Governor
Dubie Leads Five Top Democrats.
From Rasmussen Reports, March
Republican Lieutenant Governor
Brian Dubie leads all five of his potential Democratic opponents in the
first Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 survey of this year’s race for governor
Related Article: Election
2010: Vermont Senate
By Douglas, Dubie
Caledonia Record Editorial,
March 24, 2010
Kudos to Gov. Jim Douglas
and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie on securing a highly desirable and advantageous
power contract with Hydro-Quebec at this critical time in Vermont's power
They joined Quebec Premier
Jean Charest in applauding a new preliminary agreement, announced in Quebec
City recently, establishing the framework for a new 26-year power contract
between Vermont's two largest electric utilities, CVPS and GMC, and Hydro
Package Sparks Contention
By Peter Hirschfeld, Times
Argus, March 26, 2010
Republican lawmakers say
a tax bill approved by the Democratically controlled House on Thursday
will stunt commerce and worsen the effects of a bad economy.
The so-called Miscellaneous
Tax Bill captures a total of about $11.3 million in revenue in fiscal year
2011, and Democrats insist the legislation does not raise taxes. The bulk
of that revenue, according to Rep. Michael Obuchowski, chairman of the
House Committee on Ways and Means, will funnel into the state's Education
Fund and be used to lower the statewide education property tax by 2 cents.
for Equality: What's Yours Is Mine
Reform Raises Concerns with Ski Areas/Seasonal Businesses
Provision Could Fine
Seasonal Businesses for Not Providing Health Plan.
From WMUR-TV, March 25,
New Hampshire's ski industry
is sounding the alarm about possible costs incurred by health care reform.
The new law has a provision
that takes effect in 2014 to fine businesses that don't offer medical insurance
to employees who work more than 120 days per year. Some local ski areas
said that time constraint could put them in a bind.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
By Alan Caruba, Right Side
News, March 28, 2010
the sun begins to set on an America whose dollar set the standard and whose
capacity for manufacturing was unchallenged, a new superpower is emerging
and it is China.
of the economists and China-watchers have been quick to seize on any bad
news coming out of the Asian giant, but for the most part they have marveled
how, since the new century began, China has proven adept at maintaining
a fast growing economy. Indeed, so fast, it is beginning to show signs
July 2007, an article in The Washington Times noted that "China, this year
for the first time, has dislodged the United States from its long reign
as the main engine of global economic growth, with its more than 11 percent
growth eclipsing sputtering U.S. growth of about 2 percent, according to
the International Monetary Fund's 2007 projections..."
Related Article: North
Korea Wants to Nuke Us, So Why Is China Lending a Hand?
Terrorism: How Did We Get Here? Where Are We? And Where Can We Go?(Part
1 of 10)
By Peter Huessy,Family Security
Matters, March 21, 2010
China, Russia and North Korea,
as well as Venezuela, are the most important accomplices to the Iranian
regimes quest for nuclear weapons. Threats to the U.S. include nuclear
coercion as well as the a) detonation of a nuclear device in an American
city by a terrorist group provided nuclear weapons by a terror master state/nuclear
armed state, such as Iran, Pakistan or North Korea or a nuclear device
used in an EMP-type attack from a ballistic missile.
Current analysis of these
threats is relatively weak, as it is shaped by the following factors: (1)
a false distinction between terror master states and their terror group
allies; (2) a too great reliance upon traditional means of deterrence and
arms control to deal with nuclear threats; (3) an assumption that the Iranian
regime and other "terror masters" are amenable to traditional international
norms and public diplomacy; (4) an apparent unwillingness to acknowledge
the widespread economic trade/investment with Iran that supports its terrorism
and nuclear enterprises from major nation states such as Russia and China
and numerous multinational corporations; (5) an affection for the belief
that American military power, including its nuclear deterrent, is primarily
responsible for the nuclear ambitions of rogue states; (6) an unwillingness
to believe the duplicity of Iranian negotiators has been part of a deliberate
long-running state policy; and (7) a failure to understand that the U.S.
and its European allies have a greater capability/leverage to eliminate
this threat, especially through the use of economic, energy and banking
sanctions to effect regime change, than we assume.
Chief Warns of Instability in N.Korea
From the Chosun Ilbo English.com,
March 17, 2010
U.S. Forces Korea Commander
Gen. Walter Sharp has warned of sudden regime collapse in North Korea and
called for urgent preparation for such an eventuality. Sharp was speaking
at a subcommittee hearing of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee on
"We would also be mindful
of the potential for instability in North Korea," he said. "Combined with
the country's disastrous centralized economy, dilapidated industrial sector,
insufficient agricultural base, malnourished military and populace, and
developing nuclear programs, the possibility of a sudden leadership change
in the North could be destabilizing and unpredictable."
Gülen Movement Runs U.S. Charter Schools
By Stephen Schwartz, Islamist
Watch, March 29, 2010
A secretive foreign network
of Islamic radicals now operates dozens of charter schools — which receive
government money but are not required to adopt a state-approved curriculum
— on U.S. soil. The inspirer of this conspiratorial effort is Fethullah
Gülen, who directs a major Islamist movement in Turkey and the Turkish
diaspora, but lives in the United States. He is number 13 among the world's
"50 most influential Muslims" according to one
Gülen has been criticized
as the puppet master for the current Turkish government headed by the "soft
Islamist" Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials
as the AKP, in its slow-motion showdown with the secularist Turkish military.
But Gülen is also known in Muslim countries for his network of 500-700
Islamic schools around the world, according to differing sources favorable
to his movement. A more critical view of Gülen's emphasis on education
asserts that his international network of thousands of primary and secondary
schools, universities, and student residences is a
key element in solidifying an Islamist political agenda in Turkey.
the U.S. Government to Counter Hostile Ideologies (pdf)
From the Hudson Institute,
The Unites States confronts
an Islamist extremism problem. The ideological component is a key, if not
the key, dimension. The U.S. should afford the same priority to a strategic
ideas campaign as it does to capturing or killing violent Islamist
A successful campaign requires
the coordination of public and private effort at both the Domestic and
international levels. This type of coordination occurred in a number of
historical examples of effective strategic ideas campaigns – such as movements
against slavery, against dueling, for feminism and for environmental causes.
Individual and group advocacy created overlapping networks and a
more or less ubiquitous presence in key societies.
Members of the Obama administration
have spoken frequently of their interest in "smart" power, giving
greater emphasis to the softer instruments of national power. A strategic
ideas campaign to combat Islamic extremism and the related terrorism problem
would be an application of the smart power concept. But even if the President
was determined to launch such a campaign, and thereby correct a deficiency
in President Bush’s war on terrorism, he would find that the U.S. government
lacks the necessary tools.
Pulse Weapons: Congress Must Understand the Risk
By Baker Spring, The Heritage
Foundation, March, 2010
In 2004, the congressionally
mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic
Attack released an unclassified executive report on its broader study of
the U.S.’s vulnerability to EMP weapons strikes.
In 2008, the commission released a follow-up report that detailed the vulnerabilities
of the critical infrastructures of the U.S. to EMP strikes.
Taken together, these two reports make it clear that an EMP attack could
inflict severe damage on the U.S. As the initial report stated, "EMP is
one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic
Congress should not let the
Obama Administration ignore the commission’s findings. Instead, it should
mandate an updated assessment of which countries may be pursuing EMP weapons
and associated delivery systems and platforms. Further, Congress should
demand that the Administration develop, test, and ultimately field defenses
against EMP attacks, including improved ballistic missile defenses capable
of countering short-range ballistic missiles that can carry EMP warheads.
# # #
Care Rights, and Wrongs
By Dr. Donald P. Condit,
Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, March 23, 2010
What's driving passions right
now," President Obama said last fall on CBS' "Face the Nation," "is that
health care has become a proxy for a broader set of issues about how much
government should be involved in the economy."
The president was indeed
accurate in his description of the debate. It is a proxy fight between
statists and a government-weary public.
report: Debt Will Rise to 90% of GDP
By David M. Dickson, The
Washington Times, March 26, 2010
President Obama's fiscal
2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits
over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected,
and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation's economic output
by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.
In its 2011 budget, which
the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1,
the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion.
After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday,
that the president's budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in
deficits over the next decade.
They Tell Us: NYT says Health Care Bill "attacks wealth inequality" to
end "age of Reagan"
By Mark Hemingway, The Washington
Examiner, March 24, 2010
If you thought the health
care bill was just about, well, health care, guess again! It's about income
redistribution as much as anything:
"For all the political
and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems
clear: The bill that President
Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest
attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three
Over most of that period,
government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction,
both increasing inequality. The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared
since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have
fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor.
Nearly every major aspect
of the health bill pushes in the other direction. This fact helps explain
why Mr. Obama was willing to spend so much political capital on the issue,
even though it did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential
candidate. Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it
is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have
called the age of Reagan."
Obviously, there's quite
a bit of cant in how the Times' economic reporter is framing the tax and
inequality issue. I would bother pointing out the counterarguments, but
I think the New York Times' liberalism on such matters is widely
accepted. (Cafe Hayek takes
apart the claims on inequality here.) But the broad point that
the health care bill is really about income redistribution is revealing
in and of itself.
Profits + Easy Money Trump Washington
By Larry Kudlow, CNBC, March
On another note, as a very
special gift to Fed head Ben Bernanke, the euro continues its slump in
the wake of the Greek debt problem that still hasn’t been solved. That
means a strong U.S. dollar, despite all the Fed’s ultra-easy money. I think
Mr. Bernanke ought to visit the Parthenon, the symbol of ancient Greece,
and genuflect in thanksgiving for the modern-day Greek crackup that has
helped support King Dollar in spite of his ultra-easy money....
So I bring good tidings to
equity investors, despite the fact that I can’t for the life of me find
a single free-market policy in our nation’s capital. Not one single policy.
But sometimes the business cycle, and of course the Fed, can trump Washington.
Related Article: Hudson
Institute Economic Report (pdf)
Repeal Is Just Child's Play
From Investor’s Business
Daily, March 17, 2010
Unlike Medicare and Social
Security, this nationalization of one-sixth of the U.S. economy and placing
of bureaucrats and IRS agents between you and your doctor was unpopular
from the beginning.
As John R. Graham, director
of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, reminds us, the
1965 Medicare and Medicaid amendments to the Social Security Act of 1935
enjoyed greater than 70% majorities in each congressional chamber. Social
Security also passed with majorities of both parties in both chambers.
is Politically Vulnerable
The New Battles Ahead
the Emboldened Left
Can We Have Health-Care Reform?
is Noble — Until Aimed At Democrats
By L. Brent Bozell III,
Investor’s Business Daily, March 22, 2010
During the Bush years, the
news media were the promoters of protest, the champions of dissent. Denouncing
the president as a brain-damaged warmonger was the most patriotic thing
you could do (just ask the Dixie Chicks), and it was guaranteed to please
On MSNBC before the Iraq
War in 2003, David Shuster elevated the "anti-war" movement to the equivalent
of the U.S. military, only with a higher morality: "The size of the demonstrators,
at least here, at least in Europe, seems to underscore that there are now
perhaps two world superpowers," he told Chris Matthews. "There's the United
States, and then there are those millions of people who took to the streets
opposing U.S. policy."
My, how times, and standards,
On the weekend of the vote
for a massive government intervention in the health insurance market, these
same reporters had a different take. Tea Party protesters weren't going
to be hailed for their courageous and patriotic use of their free time.
They were going to be smeared for daring to be.
Convicts Palin and Tea Partiers of 'Inciting Violence' and Stoking Racism
By Ann Coulter, Patriot
Post, March 25, 2010
Since arriving in Canada
I've been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution
for speeches I hadn't yet given, and denounced on the floor of the Parliament.
Posters advertising my speech have been officially banned, while posters
denouncing me are plastered all over the University of Ottawa campus. Elected
officials have been prohibited from attending my speeches. Also, the local
clothing stores are fresh out of brown shirts....
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