North Archives - June 03, 2008
| Editorial | News & Views
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Multibillion Dollar Energy Tax
week the U.S. Senate begins debate on the Lieberman-Warner "greenhouse
gas cap and trade" bill. The bill proposes what the Wall Street Journal
has called "the most extensive government reorganization of the economy
since the 1930s".
that formulation doesn't alarm you, try this one: Last year the Congressional
Budget Office - controlled by the Democrats - reported that, depending
on the final version of the bill, it will tax from $50 to $300 billion
per year (in 2007 dollars) out of the economy by 2020. Every dime of this
is a hidden tax that will ultimately be paid by consumers: industries like
IBM, OMYA, and the Vermont ski industry, plus Joe's Machine Shop, Farmer
Brown, Marilyn Motorist, and you.
Wilderness, Reprised and Earmarked
the descendants of those early in-migrants, as well as new ones in sufficient
numbers to create a dominant political majority, want to re-create as much
as possible of Roger’s and Arnold’s howling wilderness by taking land out
of use and back into forests. Of course, the paper and lumber industries
have been doing just that for more than a century, buying up woods and
abandoned farms for forestry purposes, but it has been with their own nickel,
and for actual –ugh—commercial use. The new forestry/wilderness initiative
is typically conceived by the Beautiful People who aggressively advocate
this sort of "re-wilding" (their phrase, not mine) and prefer using OPM,
Other Peoples’ Money, rather than their own, and so it’s perhaps not surprising
that you’ll find an earmark for this purpose inside the recent Farm Bill
(silly you, thinking that the Farm Bill was about pricing structures for
farm commodities), inserted there by Vermont’s own Senator Patrick Leahy,
"to create and include the new Community Forest and Open Space Conservation
Program in the 2008 Farm Bill". The quote comes from a laudatory press
release by a national advocacy group calling itself "The Trust for Public
Support for Free Speech Mean Subsidizing Destructive Hate Speech?
notion that the constitutionally protected right to free speech entitles
one to have their views subsidized on a taxpayer supported media outlet
is absolutely absurd. This makes about as much sense as claiming that the
right to bear arms entitles one to have arms provided to him at other people’s
expense. There is no right which would obligate others to subsidize the
person claiming that right. We only have the right not to have government
interfere with our speech. Furthermore, even if this is a free speech issue,
which it clearly is not, such constitutional protections apply only to
American citizens not a foreign owned media outlet.
real issue here is whether the Burlington taxpayers should be forced to
subsidize a media outlet widely seen as a propaganda mouthpiece for terrorists
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
to Al-Jazeera Equals Support for Dictatorship??
as you say, you are defenders of freedom and democracy, why are you opposed
to Burlington Telecom providing Al-Jazeera as a channel? Do you not see
the utter hypocrisy of your viewpoint? You claim to defend freedom, but
only if it expresses viewpoints that you agree with? Your definition of
"freedom" seems to resemble that of the Kremlin, not the United States.
I guess you long for the days of the politboro, the KGB, the gulags and
other trappings of dictatorial leadership.
should mean having the ability to have access to all information, having
the freedom to make up our own minds. If you want to talk about violent
propaganda, watch Fox News. Recently one of their panelists advocated the
assassination of Barak Obama, a candidate for the Democratic nomination
to the U.S. presidency. Where is your outrage over that? I believe that
there are laws against death-threats to Presidential candidates.
is one of the most dangerous things our world faces and your statements
are part of that danger. Freedom is precious and inclusive. It cannot be
stifled by those who only want one side of the issues publicized. I am
a firm proponent of the statement made by one of our Founding Fathers (and
here, I paraphrase): "I may not agree with your opinion, but I will defend
to the death your right to it..." Well, do you believe in freedom, or do
you hide behind the word while you wish to dictate what information is
available to those of us who are intelligent and aware enough to decide
truth for ourselves?
Hill, Burlington, Vermont
is a private matter between the person and the world of
and experience, and has little to do with school or college."
Lillian Smith (1897-1966) American writer and social critic
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Consider Dropping Al Jazeera TV
John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer, May 27, 2008
John Stuart, such formulations miss the point. Stuart is spokesman for
the 15- to 20-member Defenders
Council of Vermont, a Burlington-based group that, he said, "deals
with American values, support for the military and basically educating
the public about the threats associated with radical Islam."
wants Al Jazeera off the air. He said Burlington is one of only two cities
in the country where the network is available to the public on television.
Its availability on the Internet, he said, makes its presence on BT redundant.
Stuart said his group's desire to shut down Al Jazeera in Burlington doesn't
violate the spirit of the First
Amendment. "Indirectly you could say that's an issue," he said, "but
I don't believe that at all. A majority (of Americans) understand we're
fighting a war and who the enemy is."
summarized his group's objections to Al Jazeera: "The biggest complaint
," Stuart said of the network, "is they are sympathetic to organizations
or ideologies that are contrary to our efforts in the world to put down
threats from al-Qaida or the Taliban
or various components of Islam which are a threat to Western civilization."
Coming Anti-Carbon Regime?
VermontTiger.com, May 30, 2008
no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing
food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy,
the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced
You, Mr. Pollina
Record Editorial, May 31, 2008
it comes to state and national politics, we believe voters are not served
by the narrow constriction of two parties who, increasingly, are trying
very hard to control the race, the issues and the candidates. The voters
lose when two parties are able to intimidate independents and third party
candidates. The voters lose when a party seeks to eliminate a contested
primary race or attempts to "settle the issue" months before a convention
or an election.
recent years, we've seen the Vermont state Republican machine anoint Martha
Rainville, decrying that she should be the only Republican to challenge
Democrat Peter Welch. The party began financing Rainville's campaign even
before the voters decided in a Republican primary to choose Rainville over
Sen. Mark Shepard of Bennington County. We've seen Progressive David Zuckerman,
a member of the House of Representatives, discouraged from running against
Welch and Tarrant under the old and tired explanation that Zuckerman would
only divide the vote and elect a Republican.
To A Feudal Future
VermontTiger.com, May 28, 2008
down the Vermont Yankee plant would be considered a victory for righteousness
by those opposed to nuclear power. It would also send a signal that
Vermont is not merely a tough place to do business but, in fact, thoroughly
hostile to business. The state would become a more expensive place
to live, work, and visit. Productive people who are here would leave
and those who might have considered coming here would change their minds.
Vermont would travel a long distance toward a day when the state becomes
a congenial place for only wealthy people (most of whom make their money
-- or had it made for them -- elsewhere), the peasants who do chores for
them – splitting firewood, plowing drives, pumping septic tanks, etc. –
and employees of the state.
They Can’t Afford Bread, Let Them Eat Cake
Record Editorial, June 02, 2008
been frustrating for the past several years watching the price of gasoline,
heating, and diesel fuel rise over two dollars a gallon, then over three
dollars, now four dollars with the virtual certainty that it will rise
over five and six dollars in the near future, without the people responsible
for this price-driving shortage ever being blamed. But, that is what has
been happening, and there is no indication that they ever will be held
shortage is artificial. There is an ocean of oil under the ocean and in
Alaska. There are over a trillion (that's 1,000,000,000,000) barrels of
oil in the oil shale in our Midwest and that oil can be extracted for less
than $60 a barrel. (The price of oil today is $134 a barrel.) The Chinese
are pumping oil as fast as they can less than a mile inside Cuban waters
immediately adjacent to U.S. waters where nobody is pumping oil. And God
only knows how many trillion cubic feet of natural gas isn't being recovered
in the U.S.
Little Known, But Absolutely Necessary VETO
Record Editorial, May 27, 2008
the waning days of the now-adjourned Legislature, Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed
S.270, a bill calling for Vermont to join an interstate compact in which
states would agree to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate
who received the most votes in the nation. His veto was absolutely necessary.
If there ever was a move that would have caused a train wreck of what little
influence Vermont voters have on federal elections, S.270 is it. Douglas
explained in his veto message, "S.270 would fundamentally alter the presidential
election method prescribed in the U.S. Constitution and contribute to the
undoing of the delicate balance that the Electoral College maintains among
the states. I am not willing to cede Vermont's voice in the election, and
ultimately in the operations of our federal government, to the influence
and interests of larger states that would most assuredly prevail in all
but the rarest occasions."
Claims are Laughable
Curtis Hier, Rutland Herald, May 30, 2008
states that: "Over 80 percent of the committee votes to recommend legislation
to the full House were unanimous and only a small number — about 5 percent
— were what could be characterized as partisan votes." Partridge's statistic
doesn't pass the straight-face test. First of all, most bills don't ever
get a vote. Hardly any Republican-sponsored bills get a vote of any kind
or even committee discussion. Secondly, over 400 House bills were non-binding
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Planet in Green Shackles
By Vaclav Klaus, Real Clear
Politics, May 28, 2008
To make my position and my
message clear, I should probably revoke my personal experience. My today's
thinking is substantially influenced by the fact that I spent most of my
life under the communist regime which ignored and brutally violated human
freedom and wanted to command not only the people but also the nature.
To command "wind and rain" is one of the famous slogans I remember since
my childhood. This experience taught me that freedom and rational dealing
with the environment are indivisible. It formed my relatively very sharp
views on the fragility and vulnerability of free society and gave me a
special sensitivity to all kinds of factors which may endanger it.
I do not, however, live in
the past and do not see the future threats to free society coming from
the old and old-fashioned communist ideology. The name of the new danger
will undoubtedly be different, but its substance will be very similar.
There will be the same attractive, to a great extent pathetic and at first
sight quasi-noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of something
above him, (of something greater than his poor self), supplemented by enormous
self-confidence on the side of those who stand behind it. Like their predecessors,
they will be certain that they have the right to sacrifice man and his
freedom to make their idea reality. In the past it was in the name of the
masses (or of the Proletariat), this time in the name of the Planet. Structurally,
it is very similar.
Qaeda Discusses Losing Iraq
From The Strategy Page,
May 27, 2008
Al Qaeda web sites are making
a lot of noise about "why we lost in Iraq." Western intelligence agencies
are fascinated by the statistics being posted in several of these Arab
language sites. Not the kind of stuff you read about in the Western media.
According to al Qaeda, their collapse in Iraq was steep and catastrophic.
According to their stats, in late 2006, al Qaeda was responsible for 60
percent of the terrorist attacks, and nearly all the ones that involved
killing a lot of civilians. The rest of the violence was carried out by
Iraqi Sunni Arab groups, who were trying in vain to scare the Americans
out of the country.
Today, al Qaeda has been
shattered, with most of its leadership and foot soldiers dead, captured
or moved from Iraq. As a result, al Qaeda attacks have declined more than
90 percent. Worse, most of their Iraqi Sunni Arab allies have turned on
them, or simply quit. This "betrayal" is handled carefully on the
terrorist web sites, for it is seen as both shameful, and perhaps recoverable.
Insurgents 'on brink of defeat'
By Thomas Harding in Lashkar
Gah, Telegraph.co.uk, June 01, 2008
The new "precise, surgical"
tactics have killed scores of insurgent leaders and made it extremely difficult
for Pakistan-based Taliban leaders to prosecute the campaign, according
to Brig Mark Carleton-Smith. In the past two years an estimated 7,000 Taliban
have been killed, the majority in southern and eastern Afghanistan. But
it is the "very effective targeted decapitation operations" that have removed
"several echelons of commanders". This in turn has left the insurgents
on the brink of defeat, the head of Task Force Helmand said.
We Been Safer Under Bush? The Empirical Evidence Says Yes
By John Hinderaker, Investors
Business Daily, May 28, 2008
It is an article of faith
on the left that nothing the Bush administration has done has enhanced
our security, and, on the contrary, its various alleged blunders have only
contributed to the number of jihadists who want to attack us. Empirically,
however, it seems beyond dispute that something has made us safer since
2001. Over the course of the Bush administration, successful attacks on
the U.S. and its interests overseas have dwindled to virtually nothing.
the Islamic World Rejecting al-Qaeda Theology, Thanks to the War in Iraq?
From Flopping Aces, May
in Iraq have seen not only the success of the Surge, but also a rejection
of al-Qaeda by all Iraqis including (and
especially by) Sunnis; as well as a growing rejection of al-Qaeda theology
in the Muslim world, in general. Iraq damaged al Qaeda’s image and any
prestige they might have commanded, at one point. Al
Qaeda knows this. Why doesn’t Senator Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Ariana
Last year, Sheikh Salman
al-Awdah, a popular Saudi Islamic scholar criticized Osama bin Laden who
once lionized him. Mufti Sheikh Abd Al-’Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh,
the highest Islamic religious authority in Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa
prohibiting Saudi youth from engaging in jihad abroad. Tareq Al-Humaid,
the editor of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, points out the significance:
"It is true that
some of these [young people] have become enslaved by Al-Qaeda and its ideology,
and are now beyond hope; however, the importance of the fatwa lies in the
impact that it will have on most of the Saudi public, and in particular
the fathers and mothers. Its value lies in the fact that it will wrest
from the hands of the ‘politicized sheikhs’ the card that they have been
using all this time."
Democrats Thumb their Noses at Hezb'allah
By Rick Moran, American
Thinker, May 29, 2008
The man Hezb'allah has called
a "tool of America" and a "dictator" has been re-appointed Prime Minister
by the majority March 14th party in Lebanon:...
The government majority is making it absolutely clear that they believe
in the rule of law and democracy by re-appointing the man who has led them
since their electoral victory 3 years ago. They are telling Hezb'allah
that you might have veto power in the new cabinet but we were elected by
the people and will not give in to threats or intimidation to alter the
results of that election.
Obama Left Out
By William Kristol, The
New York Times, June 2, 2008
More striking is Obama's
sin of omission. In the rest of the speech, he goes on to detail -- at
some length -- the "so many ways to serve" that are available "at this
defining moment in our history." There's the Peace Corps, there's renewable
energy, there's education, there's poverty -- there are all kinds of causes
you can take up "should you take the path of service." But there's one
obvious path of service Obama doesn't recommend -- or even mention: military
# # #
Family is a Fiscal Issue
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D., Acton Institute, May 20, 2008
the modern world of consumer choice divorced from any moral grounding,
family policy can seem hopelessly divisive. Some argue that "alternative
family forms" are simply private lifestyle choices, comparable to our choices
of curtains, cuisine or music. The choice to have children inside or outside
marriage is just another personal choice for each individual to make privately.
But a recent report from the Institute for American Values shows that these
seemingly private decisions can have serious, and expensive, costs for
taxpayers. It estimates that The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing
amount to at least $112 billion each and every year--more than $1 trillion
over a decade.
Investor's Business Daily, May 29, 2008
an America where the government decides what profits are acceptable. Imagine
our country with the oil industry nationalized. Impossible? Not with Democrats
in control of Washington. One California Democrat, saying out loud what
many on her side of the aisle have been thinking for some time, has threatened
to seize the oil industry.
Countries Begin to Burst the Oil Bubble
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph.co.uk, May 29, 2008
by one, countries across Asia and the Middle East are being forced to abandon
price controls on fuel and energy, bringing hundreds of millions of consumers
face to face with the true market cost of oil. The effect has already begun
to chip away at world demand and may ultimately trigger a slide in crude
Alex Castellanos, National Review, May 27, 2008
do not hate government. We never have. We love life when it is well-governed.
We respect the flag, our country, and traditional authority. We like a
world where rules are observed and regulations are respected. We revere
the order of the church. We respect the lines on the playing field and
we stop at traffic lights. We want things to work. We want trains to run
on time. We want our lives to be ordered. We want our lives to be governed
— just not by others. We want our lives governed by the face we see in
the mirror. We want our lives governed by ourselves.
similarly, do not love government. What they love is power, especially
when it is concentrated in the state and they have their hands on it. Whether
that power actually governs anything is immaterial. Yes, they believe in
a large and growing public sector. But liberalism’s antique, industrial-age
imperative that all authority must be top-down and emanate from the public
sector has established a colossal record of failure. The big old machine
is broken. Liberalism doesn’t "govern" anything these days.
Latest Stunning Gaffes
Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, May 25, 2008
are we supposed to take this man seriously for the position of commander
in chief? Little Green Footballs snags
Obama in a stunning error, and it is not just the name
of the town he is in or the number of states. On Friday Barack
Obama spelled out his Latin America policy [snip]:
the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in
the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our
adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples' lives,
and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.
wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum.
pathetic. Hugo Chavez came to power during the Clinton Administration,
and was first elected President of Venezuela in 1998, two years before
the Bush Administration took office.
Obama Gaffe Machine
work to change McCain's image
The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2008
Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this meddling would cause
a cumulative reduction in the growth of GDP by between 0.9% and 3.8% by
2030. Add 20 years, and the reduction is between 2.4% and 6.9% – that is,
from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion.
The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2008
those Congressional pledges of earmark reform? Democrats are hoping you
don't, as they try to pull a fast one and evade President Bush's pledge
to block these special-interest spending projects slipped into legislation
will redeem Bush
Ed Koch, Jewish World Review, May 21, 2008
reason I believe history will redeem President George W. Bush is that he
is one of the few leaders on the planet today who understands the larger
picture. He has not lost his courage and vision of the future. He knows
what calamities await the world if it engages in appeasement and deserts
an ally in order to buy an illusory peace. We will recognize his worth
long after he is gone."
# # #