North Archives - June 01, 2010
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Defense of Jihad?
Once again the mindset of
political correctness is hard at work muddying the waters when it comes
to the War on Terror. In a Fox News article entitled Counterterror Adviser
Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam', which appears in this
week’s "Freedom Under Fire" section, the President’s top counterterrorism
adviser is quoted as saying that the use of the term "jihadist" should
be off limits in our war on terror efforts. The reason he gives is that
jihad is a "legitimate tenet of Islam", which means "to purify oneself
or one's community", and there is "nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic
about murdering innocent men, women and children". Brennan argued that
it would be "counterproductive" for the United States to use the term,
as it would "play into the false perception" that the "murderers" leading
war against the West are doing so in the name of a "holy cause."
Indeed, these violent extremists are really victims of "political, economic
and social forces," and those plotting attacks on the United States should
not be described in "religious terms."
This is the standard politically
correct line when it comes to jihadism. The fact that this mantra is being
mouthed by our top counter terrorism advisor is a cause for alarm, but
hardly surprising. First of all, Bin Laden and many like him are from the
wealthy privileged class of their societies and are hardly "victims". Secondly,
any objective reading of the writings of the jihadi leadership makes it
quite clear that they are motivated by an ideology and are proactively
engaged in an effort to bring about their approximation of the utopian
vision associated with that ideology. They are not merely reacting to political,
economic or social forces.
Comes the Pro-Growth Rhetoric
a public forum on May 26 the five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination
for Governor took turns waxing eloquent on the merits of spurring job-creating
economic growth. There will be a lot more of this kind of talk over the
next five months, but what there will not be, at least from these five,
is any concrete proposal for economic development that would conflict with
the liberal anti-growth theme that has dominated Vermont public policy
since Act 250 passed in 1970.
By Martin Harris
a mirror-image of a six-year-old quote particularly applicable to current
events under the Cast Iron Dome (well, not directly under, but really close)
of the US Capitol Building, we now know that members of the Legislative
Branch, in deciding whether to audit the Fed, have "voted against it before
voting for it". You may recall that the original quote came from a supposedly
"haughty" Senator who had, "…by the way, served in Viet-Nam…" to describe
his first positive, then negative view of funding for body-armor
for the current generation of US soldiers. You may not recall, because
they’ve drawn remarkably little media interest over the decades, the repeated
expressions of negative views of the Federal Reserve System coming from
professional economists, members of the Fed itself, and even an occasional
LB-er with an unusual interest in the subject.
# # #
“A liberal is
someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes
to pay off with your money.” – G. Gordon Liddy
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Win. But Is Closing Border Wise?
By Emerson Lynn, Vermont
Tiger, May 27, 2010
A Vermont farmer can be asked
to help and the person asking will receive the shirt from their backs.
Or a Vermont farmer can be told to help, and the person telling will be
told, ever so politely, to ask elsewhere. The conversation is over. Water
cannot be wrung from a stone.
And so it is with the
David and Goliath story pitting the Rainville family of Franklin
against the Department of Homeland Security [DHS]. DHS was appropriated
$420 million in federal stimulus money to upgrade various ports along the
U.S.’s northern border and the Morses Line border station was among the
included. It was built in the 1930s and is in a state of neglect. The station,
located north of Franklin, was slated for an $8 million upgrade.
Caledonia Record Editorial,
May 25, 2010
The election results last
week may mean, according to the Huffington Post, that the American people
are in an "Anti-incumbent, Anti-Washington mood." One victim of the shift
is U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania senator since 1980. Specter,
80, recently abandoned the Republican party, switching to the Democratic
party after testing the wind and finding out Republicans were ready to
sweep him out of office. As it turned out, Democrats were just as willing
to ditch Specter.
Specter's stand on the issues
has mirrored Vermont's own U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy in the past and they
have served together on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy is the current
chairman and Specter was the chairman in 2005.
the Tax Policy Center
By Art Woolf Vermont
Tiger, May 28, 2010
In the 1990s many legislators--both
Democrats and Republicans--wanted to replace the property tax with an income
tax. In a sense, Act 60 did that for most Vermont homeowners.
But the price of that was huge increases in the cost of Act 60's income
sensitivity provision, which will cost about $155 million next fiscal year.
Triggered The School Budget Defeat?
From the Caledonia Record,
May 29, 2010
It's unusual for a town to
defeat its school budget. In Vermont on Town Meeting Day, only 14 budgets
were defeated. But St. Johnsbury voters defeated theirs not once, but twice
- the second time Tuesday.
The school board sought and
received surveys from the voters to get beyond mere yes-or-no budget responses.
Hundreds of public surveys reveal a few common themes, one being that the
refusal of the teachers to accept a pay freeze helped doom Tuesday's vote.
Jim Douglas, Vetoes Current Use Bill
From WCAX-TV, May 27, 2010
Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont,
vetoed the Current Use bill. That's a program where people conserve land
and get a tax break. About one-third of all land in Vermont is in the program
and it costs the state about $50 million. With a budget crisis, Democrats
passed a bill forcing landowners to pay more if they leave the program
or try to transfer land. They were worried about abuse by developers.
In vetoing the bill, Gov.
Douglas said it's unfortunate the General Assembly chose to raise taxes
on the stewards of Vermont's working landscape in an effort to address
the perceived misuse of the program.
Health Care Bill, S88, Becomes Law Without Governor's Signature
By Art Edelstein,Vermont
Business Magazine, May 28, 2010
Douglas’ main concern with
the bill is with the provision to create a commission, which would be charged
to come up with three designs of a new health care system for the state
with the goal of universal access to health care. The governor said the
issue has already been studied and the $250,000 price tag was unnecessary.
of the bill can be found HERE)
Exhibit Describes Making of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
By Sally Pollak, Burlington
Free Press, May 31, 2010
“The Story of the Tomb of
the Unknown Soldier,” opens today and will be part of the Proctor museum’s
"Our obligations to our
country never cease but with our lives."
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Korea on the Edge
If the regime collapses,
will the rest of the world be ready?
By B.R. Myers, The Wall
Street Journal, May 26, 2010
How will the regime try to
survive this looming "perfect storm" of ideological crises? Likely by seeking
to ratchet up some diversionary tension with the outside world. Making
this especially probable is the nascent glorification of Kim Jong Eun as
a general in his father's image. He thus needs a perceived military triumph
of his own. (Kim Jong Il came to power in 1994 as the hero whose show of
nuclear resolve had brought Jimmy Carter on a surrender mission to Pyongyang.)
Last year's nuclear and ballistic provocations have set the bar higher
for the regime, perhaps too high. This is the problem with deriving national
pride almost exclusively from a nuclear program: The saber can only be
rattled, and rattling gets old.
Whether the leadership opts
for a bigger military provocation, and pushes its luck too far, or just
tries to muddle through, with an inexorable decline of public support,
the outlook for the country's survival has never been bleaker. Regime change?
Out of the question. The Kim clan is inextricable with North Korean identity.
A homegrown Gorbachev would find it impossible to shift focus from the
military to the economy. Why should people toil under the North Korean
flag in the hope of attaining a lifestyle that South Koreans enjoyed a
quarter-century ago? Why not unify at once, and live in the system that
has already proved itself?
In view of all this, one
can only hope that the region's main powers are making more serious and
thorough preparations for a North Korean regime collapse than they have
so far let on. The effort to downplay the relevant contingency planning
is of course understandable. It is hard enough for the Americans to get
North Korea back to nuclear arms talks without admitting that they are
readying for its demise. (Kim Jong Il can't have forgotten that Washington
once promised him light-water reactors in the confidence that he wouldn't
be around long enough to get them.)
Related Article: South
Korea Threatens War If North Korea Makes One More Provocation
Islamists Came to Dominate European Islam
by Daniel Pipes, May 25,
The 7/7 bombings in London,
in which Islamists killed 52 and injured 700, prompted British authorities
to work with Muslims to avoid future violence.
However, rather than turn
to anti-Islamist Muslims who reject the triumphalist goal of applying Islamic
law in Europe, they promoted non-violent Islamists, hoping these would
persuade coreligionists to express their hatred of the West in lawful ways.
This effort featured Tariq Ramadan (b. 1962), a prominent Islamist intellectual.
For example, London's Metropolitan Police partially funded a conference
Ramadan addressed and Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed him to an official
group on tackling extremism."
Deploying an Islamist may
have seemed like a original and clever idea but it was neither. Western
governments have been allying without success with Islamists for decades.
Indeed, they have been allying with Ramadan's own family.
By M. Zuhdi Jasser,Family
Security Matters, May 25, 2010
My first concern is whether
the financing truly represents the local American Muslim community or comes
with strings from foreign Islamists. But that is far from my last concern.
I am an American Muslim dedicated
to defeating the ideology that fuels global Islamist terror – political
Islam. And I don't see such a "center" actually fighting terrorism or being
a very "positive" addition near Ground Zero, no matter how well intentioned.
To put it bluntly, Ground
Zero is the one place in America where Muslims should think less about
Islam and "our good side" and more about being American and fulfilling
our responsibilities to confront the ideology of our enemies.
Jihadis Be Rehabilitated?
By Katherine Seifert, Middle
East Quarterly, Spring 2010
As U.S. policymakers become
increasingly uneasy about the fate of the remaining detainees currently
held at Guantánamo Bay, greater attention is being paid to so-called
jihadist rehabilitation programs that have been established abroad. Numerous
governments, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Singapore, Canada, and Britain,
have established programs that seek either to rehabilitate Islamist terrorists
or to prevent further radicalization of jihadist sympathizers. Different
states tailor their programs to the mores, laws, and needs of their societies.
Muslim-majority countries concentrate on radicals who have either crossed
the line into actual terrorist activities or who are active members in
Islamist organizations deemed to be a threat to the state. Western initiatives
focus instead on individuals who may seek camaraderie with extremist groups
online or at local mosques; their programs seek to forestall further radicalization.
While there is a clear divergence in approach, both must answer the same
question: Have their efforts been successful or have they merely released
detainees into their respective societies who feign detoxification but
whose commitment to jihad has merely gone underground? The wrong answer
to this question poses a serious threat to global, as well as local security.
Capture Taliban Commander in Kandahar
From the Department of Defense
Afghan and international
forces captured a Taliban commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan, last night,
the second Taliban leader seized in the region in recent days, military
An Afghan-international security
force captured the man and several insurgents in the village of Kukaran
after intelligence indicated insurgent activity there. The commander is
believed to be responsible for leading Taliban fighters in southern Arghandab,
coordinating attacks on coalition forces and distributing rockets, improvised
explosive devices, small arms and ammunition to fighters throughout the
Related Article: Coalition
Kills Taliban's Shadow Governor in Afghanistan's Baghlan Province
Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam'
By Charles Krauthammer,
Fox News, May 27, 2010
The president's top counterterrorism
adviser on Wednesday called jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam," arguing
that the term "jihadists" should not be used to describe America's enemies.
During a speech at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent
extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said
that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described
in "religious terms."
# # #
Capital and Economic Freedom
By Victor V. Claar, Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, May 26, 2010
If we want to be effective
agents in aiding the poor, we should focus our efforts in directions leading
to the enhanced value of an hour of labor. That is, we should help poor
countries wisely grow their stocks of human and physical capital, all the
while bearing in mind that markets and their prices send the best available
signals regarding where our efforts can have the greatest impact. The newfound
success of innovative micro lending efforts such as Kiva
can help show us ways to effectively invest in the accumulation of physical
capital by the global poor. Compassion
International is a marvelous organization that works to further
the education—the human capital—of poor children worldwide, with a financial
accountability record above reproach.
Further, markets work best
when economic systems maintain the dignity of human beings. First, human
beings grow and flourish—and accumulate human and physical capital—in systems
that afford them considerable economic freedom. Economic freedom means
that people are able to make personal choices, that their property is protected,
and that they may voluntarily buy and sell in markets. Yet, economic freedom
requires the protection of private property. When property rights are clearly
defined and protected, people will work harder to create and to save. When
they are confident that the fruits of their labors cannot be taken away
arbitrarily or by force, people everywhere have greater assurance that
their labors will lead to better lives for themselves and their families.
Today’s rich collection of NGOs that work toward basic human rights play
a critical role in this regard.
Jindal: Where's Obama?
From Investor’s Business
Daily, May 25, 2010
As frustration with the federal
response grows, Louisiana's governor lashes out at the feds for doing little
except blame BP for the Gulf oil spill. Meanwhile, Congress sees a chance
to raise your gas taxes.
While the Obama administration
continues on its quest to fundamentally transform America, the largely
unabated Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens to fundamentally
transform the ecosystems and economy of Louisiana and the Gulf region.
Related Article: Krauthammer:
Oil spill culprits run deep
Favor Repeal of National Health Care Plan
From Rasmussen Reports,
May 31, 2010
The latest weekly Rasmussen
Reports national telephone survey on the recently passed national health
care bill finds that 60% of U.S. voters now want to see it repealed. That’s
down three points from a week ago but is the second
straight week to find support for repeal of the bill at 60% or above. Prior
to the past two weeks, weekly
polling since the law was passed in March had shown support
for repeal ranging from 54% to 58%.
Currently, just 36% oppose
Gathering Revolt Against Government Spending
By Michael Barone, TownHall,
May 24, 2010
This month, three members
of Congress have been beaten in their bids for re-election -- a Republican
senator from Utah, a Democratic congressman from West Virginia and a Republican-turned-Democrat
senator from Pennsylvania. Their records and their curricula vitae are
different. But they all have one thing in common: They are members of an
Like most appropriators,
they have based much of their careers on bringing money to their states
and districts. There is an old saying on Capitol Hill that there are three
parties -- Democrats, Republicans and appropriators. One reason that it
has been hard to hold down government spending is that appropriators of
both parties have an institutional and political interest in spending.
Their defeats are an indication
that spending is not popular this year. So is the decision, shocking to
many Democrats, of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey to
retire after a career of 41 years. Obey maintains that the vigorous campaign
of a young Republican in his district didn't prompt his decision. But his
retirement is evidence that, suddenly this year, pork is not kosher.
Arizona's Immigration Law Being Put on ICE?
By Aaron Goldstein, American
Spectator, May 25, 2010
For all the histrionics,
hoopla and hysteria that has surrounded Arizona's recently passed immigration
enforcement law, it must be noted that its success depends on the co-operation
of the federal government and the feds know it.
How else to explain the words
of John Morton, Assistant Secretary of State for Homeland Security for
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Last week, Morton toldthe
Chicago Tribune, "I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are
the solution." Morton added that he wasn't of the opinion that the Arizona
law represented "good government." So it would appear the federal government
will not co-operate with Arizona's efforts to stem the tide of illegal
immigration. For all intents and purposes, Morton has put Arizona's immigration
law on ICE.
Damn Lies, and Politicians: High Crimes and Misdemeanors at 1600 Pennsylvania
Ave. (Part 1)
By Liz Blaine, News Real,
May 30, 2010
Machine moved to Washington and a disturbing pattern of
bribery, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to corrupt the American
electoral process is now synonymous with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The
latest incident is a classic quid pro quo for political advantage and subsequent
coordinated cover-up to mitigate collateral damage and obstruct the truth.
In this three part series, I will delve into the scandal, the blatant inconsistencies
between the "coordinated" statements of involved parties, and the potential
crimes committed by the Obama administration in this, and other, pay-for-play
The Scandal: Set in
a motion by a February 18th interview
with Philadelphia news anchor Larry Kane, Congressman Joe
Sestak’s allegation ignited a political firestorm.
# # #