North Archives - May 11, 2010
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the Fault Lies
By Tom Licata
fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves…" so said Shakespeare.
We have lived beyond our
means and the answer to this economic problem is this: We must methodically
manage an orderly reduction in our standard-of-living. Without such
action, a disorderly reduction is inevitable.
Government Before Anything Else
So, if Wall Street needs
to be regulated because of it’s the way it does business, why not Washington?
If cronyism, selfishness, short sightedness and plain old dumb decision
making that costs taxpayers billions needs to be reigned in, where’s the
laws regulating Chris Dodd (Countrywide Loan Scandal), Charlie Rangel (Tax
Evasion), etc and so on, not to mention Obama himself for botching the
stimulus, screwing up the auto industry takeover, and sending our national
debt into the stratosphere.
By Martin Harris
you’ve been following the continuing literary efforts of the Fourth Estate,
you know that it’s about as unusual as a blizzard over the Shakespearean
Tempest-Island for an accredited op-ed specialist to admit a blind-spot
in his commentary; but perhaps it’s OK for a mere free-lance amateur like
humble scribe. My judgment-gap came while pondering whether Vermonters,
like so many in other States, might contemplate some sort of break-up or
even secession (the last actual multi-State attempt had a sorry history)
because of internal differences in political-governance objectives. I thought
they might consider either an individual Town defection (think Killington)
or even a New-England-in-the-1820’s/Thomas-Naylor-in-the-present sort of
secession debate. I had toyed with, and rejected, the notion of a "Virtual
Vermont" of pretty-much-disenfranchised old Vermonters practicing some
form of traditional self-government while co-existing geographically mixed
(but governmentally-separated) among the pretty-much-in-charge-now new
in-migrants, because the facts on the ground are that there’s no place
in the State –not even the once-safe Northeast Kingdom-- where the now-dominant
group is clearly absent; no place to furnish a sanctuary for the now-subordinate
group. My error in thinking it couldn’t be done may well be proven wrong
by the example of Hawaii, and so I concede my past shortfall of imagination
to raise the possibility that what’s about to take place in the Aloha State
could possibly come to pass in the Green Mountain State, albeit for somewhat
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arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that if wise men could
have "flexibility" in issuing money without the constraints of its being
tied to the supply of gold, or even silver, they could rid us of financial
panics, the business cycle and other human ailments! John Maynard Keynes
and others thought that if the economy looked to be slowing you should
just churn out more money, like putting more logs on a flickering fire,
and do the opposite if things looked to be overheating. But manipulating
the amount of money or the cost of it, à la the Fed's fixing interest
rates, gets in the way of prosperity. It does not facilitate prosperity
but retards it. There is no way a handful of people—wise or unwise—in government
and central banks can second-guess what markets made up of billions of
people might need. We are living through a disaster that is the result
of the latest Greenspan/Bernanke attempts to guide our economic destiny
through central bank operations."
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- Steve Forbes writing at
Forbes.com, April 21st, 2010
Weekly News Round-Up
From Vermont Tiger, May
One looks over this laundry
list of late-session business and wonders: "Did they not know, back in
January, that they were going to have to produce a budget? Is that
not one of those things they are always supposed to do?"
We all know that making laws
is like making sausage, as legions of hack writers like to remind us, mistakenly
attributing the quote to Bismark in the process. It
was – actually and appropriately – a
Vermonter who said it first. One who, incidentally,
played around in Vermont politics, putting him perfectly in position to
know what he was talking about.
Privacy Not an Employment Right
Caledonia Record Editorial,
May 5, 2010
A disagreement arose last
week about whether state employees' use of state computers should be monitored.
The issue arose when it became a general concern that Vermont's employees
may be using state computers for personal reasons on employer time. It
came to a point when it was discovered that federal employees were surfing
pornography sites on federal time, specifically when the financial crisis
was crashing down on all of us.
the NEA's Water
From Vermont Tiger, May
The NEA wants more money.
It always wants more money. Its lust for money is insatiable.
Senators Patrick Leahy and
Bernard Sanders are reliable allies of the NEA and, thus, have signed on
as supporters of legislation to pour more federal money into public school
systems around the country. The NEA
advances, with a straight face, all the usual justifications
for the bill. Saving jobs. It's for the children. Etc.
Tears Followed By Oinks
Caledonia Record Editorial,
May 4, 2010
Somebody a few years ago
explained that when government entities announce they are cutting costs,
what they almost always mean is their costs will continue to rise, but
at a slower rate. That's exactly where Vermont's public colleges are going
with tuition hikes next year, this year, last year and every year. Does
anybody remember even one year when they didn't hike tuitions? ...
So many public agencies and
entitlements are completely out of financial control - the state, the towns,
the school districts. The only people who are exercising constraint are
private citizens who know they have to live within their means. It's a
matter of very little time before the expense/debt/tax/disposable income
continuum collapses. At this point, we are speeding downhill. It is questionable
whether we can stop before we go collectively bankrupt.
Highway Paving Expenditure to Top $100 Million
From Vermont Business Magazine,
May 5, 2010
The Vermont Agency of Transportation
paving expenditure for the 2010 construction season will top $100 million
for the first time. Governor Douglas will make a formal announcement at
an event on Monday in Sheldon. VTrans this construction season will resurface
nearly 250 miles of Interstate, state and class one town roadways with
this record funding amount. Douglas and VTrans Secretary Dill will be joined
by officials from the Federal Highway Administration, Pike Industries and
the Town of Sheldon along Route 105 where the Agency is resurfacing nearly
10 miles between Sheldon and Enosburg.
Guard Heading to Haiti
From Fox 44 News, April
A group from the Vermont
Air National Guard is getting ready to head to Haiti.
A sendoff ceremony took place
Friday afternoon. The guardsmen will soon leave for Port-Au-Prince.
There they will dismantle an Air National Guard facility that supported
the Haiti earthquake relief effort.
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Global War on Terrorism
Administration Removed Faisal Shahzad from Terror Surveillance List Before
By Jim Hoft, BigGovernment.com,
May 6, 2010
Faisal Shahzad was removed
from the national terrorist surveillance list before the Times Square attack.
Confessed terrorist Faisal
Shahzad was removed from the Department of Homeland Security travel lookout
list sometime after Barack Obama came into office. CBS
CBS News that would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad appeared on a
Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list – Traveler Enforcement
Compliance System (TECS) – between 1999 and 2008 because he brought
approximately $80,000 cash or cash instruments into the United States.
Forces Arrest Leader of Ansar al Islam
By Bill Roggio, The Long
War Journal, May 4, 2010
Iraqi security forces backed
by US advisers have captured the head of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Islam.
Abu Abdullah al Shafi, the
leader of Ansar al Islam, or Partisans of Islam, was detained along with
seven "criminal associates" during raids in the Baghdad neighborhoods of
Mansour and Adhamiyah on May 3, US
Forces Iraq reported in a press release.
Sachs & Islamic Banking
The Next Security
Fraud Disaster, with a Terror Finance Twist.
By Karen Khan, Family Security
Matters, April 29, 2010
Little did Sen. Byron Dorgan
(D-ND) know that he hit the jackpot when he described Goldman Sach’s fiduciary
breach at the April 27th Senate hearing as "to bet against your clients,
to bet against your country, all for the sake of big profits."
This kind of security fraud
(weak disclosure, transparency and national security risk) is being committed
by a laundry list of investment firms who have been "quietly building infrastructure
for the past 5 – 14 years in order to become the money manager of choice
for Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda."
Terrorism: Iran Presents ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (Part 7 of 10)
Peter Huessy,Family Security
Matters, April 1, 2010
However, it is not that engagement
made Iran ready to "make a deal." What is argued is that engagement set
Iran up to be hit with even more severe sanctions. It was now obvious [finally!]the
Iranians were not interested in any kind of deal complying with the terms
of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Their obstreperous behavior could
not be chalked up to anything Washington had done wrong.
However, here things took
a turn perhaps not anticipated. The idea of invoking further sanctions
was to "get a deal" consistent with a nuclear weapons-free mullah-land.
Nevertheless, since no sanctions have yet been adopted that go beyond the
three rounds of sanctions previously adopted by the UN Security Council,
we do not know yet what the future brings. That is where the crystal ball
gets somewhat cloudy.
If the regime believes God
himself has directed them to kill the Great Satan and the Little Satan
(Israel), then any negotiation is simply an Iranian tactic to buy time.
Thus it is that we have set deadlines, in all apparent intention to enforce
our will, only to see such deadlines come and go, as the UN, China, and
Russia take further time to determine what road they want to travel. Therefore,
we are now faced with choices, not any one of them without difficulty:
(1) Continued engagement backed by today's sanctions; (2) additional crippling
sanctions to force a deal; (3) containment and deterrence; or (4) regime
Would Anyone Want to Blow Up Times Square?
By Daniel Pipes, National
Review Online, May 5, 2010
When news comes of Muslims
engaging in violence, the triad of politicians, law enforcement, and media
invariably presumes that the perpetrator suffers from some mental or emotional
incapacity. (For a quick listing of examples, see my collection at "Sudden
Jihad or 'Inordinate Stress' at Ft. Hood?").
Instead, I argue, they should
begin with a presumption of jihadi intent. That is, the default expectation
should be ideological passion, not insanity. Spreading Islam and applying
Islamic law are the goals. Of course, some crazy Muslims exist and they
do engage in violence, but they constitute a microscopic percentage of
the 15,247 Muslim terrorist incidents since 9/11, as counted by www.thereligionofpeace.com.
Dithers While Dangerous Alliances Form
By William R. Hawkins, Family
Security Matters, May 10, 2010
Officials from 189 nations
opened a month long conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
(NPT) at the United
Nations on May 3rd. It would be useful to look back at what
happened after the last major gathering meant to improve nuclear safeguards.
President Barack Obama held a much ballyhooed Nuclear Security Summit April
13th-14th attended by 47 nations. A four-year plan to control nuclear materials
that could be used for weapons was signed, but there is no enforcement
mechanism. Even President Obama had to concede, "We're relying on good
will on the part of those who are signatories. I believe they take their
commitments very seriously."
But do they? After the NSS,
Chinese President Hu Jintao traveled to Brasilia for the BRIC (Brazil,
Russia, India and China) summit at which support was voiced for Iran’s
nuclear program against any new international sanctions. Though Obama had
tried to give the impression that he had persuaded Hu to support action
on Iran when they met at the NSS, this was not the case. When Chinese Foreign
Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu was asked about this at a press conference
on April 13th, he stated,
"On the Iranian nuclear issue, our position has been consistent....Sanctions
and pressure are not the fundamental way out."
Airstrike Kills 10 'Rebels' in North Waziristan
By Bill Roggio, The Long
War Journal, May 9, 2010
The US killed six people
in an airstrike in a known al Qaeda haven in the Taliban stronghold of
Unmanned Predators or the
more deadly Reapers fired at least two missiles at a compound in the town
of Inzar Kala in the Datta Khel region near the Afghan border. Ten "rebels"
were killed in the strike, according
"The compound became suspicious
as it was being used by foreigners," a Pakistani official said, referring
to al Qaeda fighters. "It was, however, not immediately known if any high-value
target was present in the area at the time of attack."
Today's airstrike took place
in a region administered by North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar.
Al Qaeda and allied Pakistani and Central Asian jihadist groups shelter
in Bahadar's tribal areas, and they also run training camps and safe houses
in the region.
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Rise of Government and the Decline of Morality
By James A. Dorn, Renewing
The growth of government
has politicized life and weakened the nation’s moral fabric. Government
intervention—in the economy, the community, and society—has increased the
payoff from political action and reduced the scope of private action. People
have become more dependent on the state and have unwittingly sacrificed
freedom for a false sense of security.
One cannot blame government
for all of society’s ills, but there is no doubt that economic and social
legislation, especially since the mid-1960s, has had a negative impact
on individual responsibility. Individuals lose their moral bearing when
they become dependent on government. Subsidies, bailouts, and other aspects
of the "nanny state" socialize risk and reduce individual accountability.
The internal moral compass that normally guides individual behavior will
no longer function when the state undermines incentives for moral conduct
and blurs the distinction between right and wrong.
Tea Party pacifism
contrasts favorably to liberal arrests.
The Washington Times, May
Blatant falsehoods about
Arizona's new immigration law keep piling up. Not only is the substance
of the law grossly distorted, the liberal media is demonizing anyone who
supports the reform and minimizing any wrongs by those opposing it.
Compare the media's hostile
treatment of peaceful Tea Party protests to the sometimes violent leftist
demonstrations against Arizona's law. No Tea Party demonstrators have been
arrested during anti-government gatherings, and none has thrown rocks or
broken bottles at police. This pacifist Tea Party track record spans multiple
national demonstrations with crowds ranging from 300,000 at the April 15
Tax Day protest to around a million at September's demonstration against
The number of leftist agitators
against Arizona's new immigration bill are far smaller. Yet, from the very
first demonstration in Phoenix when the bill was signed on April 23, liberal
protests have been marked by violence and arrests. In Chicago last week,
the local Fox station reported that "police clashed with demonstrators"
and protesters blocked vehicles; 24 were arrested. A Sunday march in Santa
Cruz, Calif., damaged 18 businesses, with repair costs reaching an estimated
$100,000. In San Francisco, three people were beaten by protesters, with
two arrested. During a pro-illegal-immigration protest outside the White
House on Saturday, 35 were arrested. The list goes on.
Plan, Not a Single Fire Boom on Hand on Gulf Coast at Time of Oil Spill
By Ben Raines, al.com, May
If U.S. officials had followed
up on a 1994 response plan for a major Gulf oil spill, it is possible that
the spill could have been kept under control and far from land. The problem:
The federal government did not have a single fire boom on hand.
This April 28, 2010 image
made from video released by the Deepwater Horizon Response Unified Command,
shows an in situ burn in the Gulf of Mexico, in response to the oil spill
after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. The "In-Situ Burn" plan produced
by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in
the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms.
But in order to conduct a
successful test burn eight days after the Deepwater Horizon well began
releasing massive amounts of oil into the Gulf, officials had to purchase
one from a company in Illinois.
Haley Barbour on the BP Oil Spill
to Insist on 10th Amendment
Still Support Offshore Oil Drilling
of Oil Seeps into Gulf of Mexico Each Year
Rights belong to states,
not Washington, task force says.
By Sean Lengell, The Washington
Times, May 7, 2010
Republicans are so determined
to stop what they say is abusive and unlawful expansion of the federal
government under President Obama that they are willing to abdicate power
to the states to do it.
Taking its cue from the Bill
of Rights, the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House
Republicans, says that the 10th Amendment dictates that initiatives such
as the health care reform law and other massive government programs are
the business of state governments, not Washington.
So the RSC this week announced
that it had formed a 10th Amendment task force to help "usher in a new
era of federalism" and to work to disperse power from Washington back to
regions, states and local governments.
Property: Bubble or No Bubble?
By Geoff Dyer, Financial
Times, May 6, 2010
No-one in the US these days
has a good word to say for the ‘Greenspan put’, the idea that when asset
prices fall sharply, the Federal Reserve will eventually ride to the rescue
and provide a floor for the market by cutting rates. Some people are certain
it helped foster the complacency that triggered the financial crisis.
Is China falling into a similar
trap over its property market? Can current moves to cool demand be taken
seriously when three years ago Beijing went through a similar campaign
- only to go into reverse when prices went into freefall? That is the intriguing
question proposed by Paul Cavey at Macquarie Research. And his answer is
an unequivocal ‘no’.
The government has again
been spooked by soaring house prices which has led to some signs of social
unrest – and a new
crackdown on speculators even more aggressive than last time.
And the early indications of slumping sales of new houses suggest the measures
are having a significant impact.
the Promise of Nuclear Energy
By William D. Johnson, Investor’s
Business Daily, May 4, 2010
Nuclear power has been part
of the energy mix in our country for more than 50 years, and it currently
accounts for 20% of the electricity generated here — and 70% of the country's
carbon-free generation. But while many new plants are being built in Europe
and Asia (56 reactors under construction in 15 countries worldwide), there
have been no new nuclear plants started in the United States in three decades.
Until recently, support for
new nuclear power plants by most U.S. policymakers has been tepid, at best,
even though most Americans — 74%, according to a national poll in 2009
— support new nuclear generation.
Phony Medicaid 'Deal'
new health law unconstitutionally coerces the states.
Richard A. Epstein, The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2010
the Constitution the states are not wards of the federal government. Clever
federal tax and spending statutes must not be allowed to reduce states
to a servile status that allows the federal government to force massive
wealth shifts among them.
Billion and Counting
and Freddie lose it all for you.
Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2010
real joke is that the Obama Administration and Senator Chris Dodd have
collaborated on a financial regulatory-reform bill that includes no reform
of Fan or Fred. Senators should rectify this embarrassment as early as
today by voting for John McCain's amendment to end this most costly of
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