North Archives - August 17, 2010
| Editorial | News & Views
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By Robert Maynard
There has recently been
talk within the Tea Party movement on whether to maintain a focus on "fiscal
issues", rather than take on the "social issues". Arguments for both sides
have been put forward. On the one side is the argument that you stick with
what brought you success rather than divide the movement. The opposing
argument mostly makes the point that the restoration of America’s constitutional
republic requires more than a "materialistic" focus on economics.
Both sides make the mistake
of separating economic and social concerns. The cornerstone of the social
order is the family and social endeavors are somehow related to family
affairs. A key aspect of that social order is tied to economics. Like the
ancient Greeks, the early Americans did not see economics as something
separate from family issues.
By Martin Harris
as conservative talk-show pundit Rush Limbaugh and purple PBS dinosaur
Barney both say, "the learning never ends", then it’s logical that the
testing never ends, either. Here are two education questions lobbed (a
little tennis lingo, there) at me in recent days: 1. why is there so much
teacher-initiated social engineering in the classroom? and 2. In academic
subjects, if the student didn’t learn, is it always because the teacher
didn’t teach? Both questions are in the contemporary public "conversation"
(a little political lingo, there) although in different ways: the first
is reflected in a kind of gallows humor already present in such other distressed
(in economic, not productivity, terms) sectors as agriculture, and the
second is remarkable for the vast intellectual chasm between academic-expert
and concerned-citizen on the answers.
# # #
to the Editor
of Bennington Patriots Needed Today
As I read Audrey
Pietrucha's column in the Bennington Banner this week, the similarities
between what those brave patriots fought for and what we are up against
today leaped out at of the page.
The base issue is the concept
of one person or group of people lording over another person or group of
persons. The patriots of 1777 felt that concept was wrong enough
to fight against, even to the point of death if required.
Today we are rapidly returning
to a nation with lords and servants, with a self-appointed elite class
trying to control the people through government. While our battle today
need not be a bloody battle, it is no less important to future generations
than the Battle of Bennington has been to our generation.
Vermont itself is a clear
example of how things are shifting from self-government of, by and for
the people to a governing class that either in ignorance or ill-intent
enacts policy after policy that widens the chasm between the elite and
the rest of the people.
One point of battle today
is to reopen the Vermont State House to the people of Vermont. I
built the following website a few weeks ago to point out how over the
past five decades or so we have allowed our State House to be out of reach
for most Vermonters. Vermont patriots are needed today as much as the soldiers
of 1777 were needed and this website presents what I believe is an important
way to engage the battle. Throughout Vermont there are districts
in need of patriots who will run for the Vermont legislature. Please give
this some consideration. Vermont needs you.
by searching can find out God, or the Almighty to perfection," yet I am
persuaded, that if mankind would dare to exercise their reason as freely
on those divine topics as they do in the common concerns of life, they
would, in a great measure, rid themselves of their blindness and superstition,
gain more exalted ideas of God and their obligations to him and one another,
and be proportionally delighted and blessed with the views of his moral
government, make better members of society, and acquire, manly powerful
incentives to the practice of morality, which is the last and greatest
perfection that human nature is capable of. --Ethan
Weekly News Round-Up
By Matt Austin, Fox 44 News,
August 11, 2010
In less than two weeks there
will be a lot less people running for Vermont Governor. Voters will narrow
the field on Primary Day, August 24th. There are two big questions this
year: which democrat will win and how many voters will show up?
in the Right Church, Wrong Pew
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 14 2010
As the state's primary season
heads into its final weeks, the five Democratic candidates for governor
sound, to use an archaic phrase, like a broken record. Just when the monotony
of the five talking heads had most Vermonters looking for the off switch,
Doug Racine finally broke from the pack and made some comments that were,
Racine's new mantra is "big
promises become empty promises" and he used the phrase to describe promises
made by his Democratic rivals. Racine says he's been listening to his fellow
Democrats during 50-plus debates and has grown frustrated by the big promises
made by them. The group has promised single-payer health care where everybody
wins and the state saves money. Universal broadband is promised as a panacea
for the state's economic doldrums. We hear promises of no cuts in education
and more money for human services - without a nickel in new taxes. Here's
the rub for Racine: His competition does what it does because it appears
to work for them.
By Daniel Foty, Vermont
Tiger, August 14, 2010
As a natural combination
of these two thoughts, perhaps the "three things" I had in mind for Tiger-fest
could be recast in this form: If your jurisdiction doesn't do these three
things in the years and decades ahead, it has almost no chance of being
stagnant and impoverished.
We'll look at the three below
the Downing Cross Down
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 13, 2010
Then came the NIMBYs (Not
in My Back Yard), who discovered how to use Act 250 to stop development
altogether. They spawned Vermont's virtually impossible permit system,
which has essentially paralyzed development of just about everything. For
the past 30 years, Act 250 has been a weapon rather than a protection.
That's exactly what Richard
and Joan Downing have been up against in their efforts to keep an illuminated
cross beside their very attractive chapel on their own land on Darling
Hill Road. The District 7 Environmental Commission ordered them to remove
the cross because "it is out of character in the rural, scenic neighborhood."
Hello? A chapel with a cross is an environmental intrusion in a rural,
scenic neighborhood? We bet there are 50 such chapels in rural, scenic
neighborhoods across Vermont. In fact there are at least four of them on
Route 15 between West Danville and St. Albans.
Development Success Story
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger,
August 6, 2010
Why is it that Vermont has
been so successful at attracting this industry over the past twenty-five
years? According to the VCIA:
In 1981, the
Vermont Legislature passed the Special Insurer Act which was designed to
provide a unique and attractive statutory framework for captive formation.
These landmark regulations have become the model of captive regulation.
English translation: We
have very low taxes on captives and government officials work with the
industry to insure that the regulatory environment helps, rather than hinders,
Vermont's captive insurance
statute has been modified continually to meet the needs of this dynamic,
fast-paced industry. The Vermont legislature listens and is responsive;
and Vermont has a team of regulatory professionals dedicated to serving
captives. Throughout its history in Vermont, the captive insurance industry
has received universal and enthusiastic support from the governors and
Are there any lessons here?
Commissioner Vilaseca Above The Law?
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 10, 2010
For months now, school districts
and newspapers across the state have waited in apprehension to learn how
much each of the 283 school districts will have to cut from their budgets
to save the $23 million in savings targeted by the state education department.
Learning that the numbers were complete, the Rutland Herald and Barre Times-Argus
asked for the list last week under the public's right-to-know laws. To
their surprise, education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca agreed the document
was public but refused to release it until the school districts checked
it for factual errors.
Vilaseca's refusal to release
the document clearly breaks the law. He gave no legally acceptable reason
for withholding the document. He just said, "No, you can't have it yet."
And if that weren't ridiculous enough, his rationale for stonewalling was
his own blunder last spring - when he botched the list of lowest performing
schools in Vermont. He had to apologize to them and to name two other schools,
including the St. Johnsbury School. His blunder potentially cost St. Johnsbury
more than $100,000 in salary and benefits to be paid to a dismissed principal
who had signed a contract before learning that her job was no longer there.
Her contract remained, however, so she has a year-long paid vacation, courtesy
of Armando Vilaseca and funded by St. Johnsbury taxpayers.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
By Michael Ledeen, Pajamas
Media, August 10, 2010
Meanwhile, Mubarak of Egypt
is dying, and when he passes, that huge country may enter chaos. The frightening
Mohammed al Baradei (you remember him, the faux inspector from the UN)
is running for office in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood. Should
he become the effective leader of Egypt, things will get worse. And
Turkey is right there, Islamist
Turkey, a Turkey that wants women bundled up and the West very
far away until it is once again dominated by triumphal Islamic power.
A Turkey ruled by a man who wants to be Caliph.
A very few people can change
the world right now because the world is off its previous orbit and the
new one isn’t yet stabilized.
Meanwhile again, a Latin
American anti-American alliance, very much in league with Iran, is being
assembled to the south. And nobody cares. Colombia and Chavez’s Venezuela
are in a phony war that may become a shooting war most any day.
Meanwhile a third time, the
Chinese are making dramatic strides in seapower.
Everybody knows they think
of themselves as the rightful rulers of the universe. Many of them believe
we are a spent force. So that’s another set of glowing embers.
One cannot know the future,
but great leaders must anticipate the worst-case scenario, and prepare
for it. We’re not. Our guy is showing off his basketball skills for wounded
vets and mocking his opposition. Something about fiddling as the flames
get hotter comes to mind…
Radical but Rational
By Scott Stewart, Strategic
Forecasters, August 12, 2010
So, while Hezbollah has the
capability to attack U.S. interests, it does not currently possess the
intent to do so. Its terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the 1980s, like the
bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks and the two attacks against the U.S.
Embassy, were intended to drive U.S. influence out of Lebanon, and the
attacks largely succeeded. An attack by Hezbollah inside the United States
today would result in the return of U.S. attention to, and perhaps even
a presence in, Lebanon, something that is clearly not in Hezbollah’s interests.
Then why the recurring rumors
of impending Hezbollah terrorist attacks? For several years now, every
time there has been talk of a possible attack on Iran there has been a
threat by Iran that it will use its proxy groups in response
to such an attack. Iran has also been busy pushing intelligence reports
to anybody who will listen (including STRATFOR) that it will activate its
militant proxy groups if attacked and, to back up that threat, will periodically
send IRGC-QF, MOIS or Hezbollah operatives out to conduct not-so-subtle
surveillance of potential targets. (They clearly want to
be seen undertaking such activity.)
In many ways, the Hezbollah
threat is being played up in order to provide the type of deterrent that
mutually assured destruction did during the Cold War. The threats of unleashing
Hezbollah terrorist attacks and closing
the Strait of Hormuz are the most potent deterrents Iran
has to being attacked. Since Iran does not yet possess a nuclear arsenal,
these threats are the closest thing it has to a "real
nuclear option." As such, they are threats that Iran will
make good on only as a last resort.
Defense: "May The Force Be With You"
By Riki Ellison, Family
Security Matters, August 14, 2010
In our galaxy next week,
far beyond the lights of Los Angeles, off the Ventura Coast, our nation's
Airborne Laser (ABL) housed in a Boeing 747 will shoot in flight its laser
beam at the speed of light against a target resembling a current foreign
short-range ballistic missile threat. The chemical laser beam will travel
twice as far as did this past February, when the ABL successfully pierced
the metal skin of two short-range ballistic missiles, destroying the targets
successful tests marked the only proven and demonstrated "Boost Phase"
missile defense system intercept against both solid (2/3/10) and liquid
(2/11/10) fueled short-range ballistic missiles. The laser, with its speed
of light delivery and multiple shots, when developed and deployed can defend
against what our combat commander's fear from Iran and North Korea - salvo
launches of ballistic missiles.
technology is one of the greatest that the Department of Defense and our
national labs have developed. The applications of the laser and its follow-on
directed energy platforms are astounding and well exceed the value of funding
invested into them. There are no other countries in the world that have
this generation of technology and as such the ABL is highly coveted, especially
by China and Russia.
Taxpayer, Financial Jihadist
Thanks to our takeover
of AIG, we now are involved in Islamic finance
By Andrew C. McCarthy, National
Review, August 14, 2010
It is "financial jihad,"
explained Yusuf Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sharia compass — and
the man Feisal Rauf, the brains behind the proposed Ground Zero mosque,
admires as "the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world
today." It was 2002 and Qaradawi, who endorses suicide bombing and the
targeting of American personnel operating in Islamic countries, was giving
a lecture on the need to use the international financial system to support
Islamist goals — like Hamas’s war to destroy Israel.
The financial jihad has now
achieved its greatest coup so far: It has co-opted the U.S. government
as a partner. In fact, if you would like to see a contributor to the jihad,
have a look in the mirror. Thanks to the Obama administration, every one
of us is complicit. The bailout bonanza made each of us an owner of American
Group (AIG). Under the stewardship of its real CEO, Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner, AIG proudly runs the world’s most lavishly
funded sharia-compliant insurance business — and it is desperately trying
a federal court in Michigan that no one should have a problem with that.
Praises Afghan Troop Growth; Taliban Leader Killed
American Forces Press Service,
August 11, 2010
The commander of the International
Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan today praised the Afghan defense
ministry for growing its army ahead of schedule, while NATO forces confirmed
the death of a senior Taliban commander killed in fighting with Afghan
and international troops.
Afghanistan has reached its
goal of 134,000 trained Afghan soldiers two months ahead of schedule, marking
a milestone in the counterinsurgency strategy, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus
Less than six months ago,
Petraeus said, Afghan army strength stood at about 107,000 trained soldiers,
with a target of reaching 134,000 by October. He called the pace of growth
Descent into Barbarism
By Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem
Post, August 9, 2010
To see what Shi’ite technocrats
have done to Iran is tragic. I do not speak only of the violent clown Mahmoud
Ahmadenijad, who can look an Ivy-League audience in the eye and say there
are no homosexuals in Iran. Rather, I speak of a country so riddled with
hate that it thinks nothing of producing cartoons, available on a website
promoted by the semi-official Fars news agency, denying the Holocaust and
portraying Jews as hook-nosed vermin. Have the Iranians been taught to
hate Jews so much that they can caricaturize the gassing of one million
children? When I visited Poland I walked into a clearing near Tarnow where
800 Jewish orphans had been murdered, mostly by having their brains dashed
against trees. The Iranians would make fun of this as well? What level
of humanity must be compromised before one feels that wholesale slaughter
is a matter of comic relief? I forced myself to watch all of The Stoning
of Soriah M by Iranian director Cyrus Nowrasteh. Based on a true story,
its final scene – depicting an innocent woman buried up to her neck and
having her skull slowly crushed by average men including her own father,
husband and son throwing stones large enough to injure but not to immediately
kill – is easily one of the most brutal events ever depicted on film.
If only it were an exaggeration.
The world is currently focused
on the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old woman awaiting
death by stoning in the Iranian town of Tabriz after a sham conviction
# # #
Holding Back the Hiring?
By Jim Powell, The Cato
Institute, August 9, 2010
President Obama claims that
he's concerned about "jobs, jobs, jobs," but he has signed laws, issued
executive orders and approved regulations that create incentives for private-sector
employers to lay off people or delay hiring people. It's no wonder high
unemployment persists. Obama's top 10 job killers include...
the 'Green' Economy, the Poor Pay More
By Kelly Miller, Acton Institute
for Religion and Liberty, August 11, 2010
Rather than stimulating the
American economy, full regulation of carbon emissions will damage it severely.
Essentially, a cap or a regulatory burden on carbon emissions would create
energy scarcity, making it just as expensive to purchase energy from fossil
fuels as it is to purchase energy from "renewable" sources. The supply
of efficient energy would drop in order to encourage production and consumption
of inefficient energy, and prices would skyrocket as a result. Politicians
themselves, including Barack Obama as a presidential candidate, have admitted
that skyrocketing prices are a crucial component of the carbon regulation
Under the cap-and-trade bill
considered by the House of Representatives, the average American family
would likely face a 90 percent increase in electricity prices, according
to research done by The Heritage Foundation. Gasoline and natural
gas prices would also rise by over 50 percent. The economic impact
of EPA regulation would be even
worse than the impact of cap-and-trade legislation, because
regulation would involve more compliance, administrative, and legal costs.
Skyrocketing energy prices
would cause the prices of most other goods and services to rise as well,
because energy is the lifeblood of the economy. Almost nothing happens
– no manufacturing, no transportation, and no sales – without energy.
For people who already have plenty of money – think John Kerry and Bill
Gates – this is not much of a problem. But economically vulnerable
groups already spend much larger portions of their budgets on basic necessities
than do those who are better off. The poor have less discretionary
income to spend on things they don’t absolutely need, and therefore less
room to breathe when expenses rise.
Real Gulf Disaster
By Lou Dolinar, National
Review, August 12, 2010
Four months after the Deepwater
Horizon spill — which President Obama called the "worst environmental disaster
America has ever faced" — the oil is disappearing, and fisheries are returning
to normal. It turns out that this incident exposed some things that are
seriously wrong in the world of oil — and I don’t mean exploding wells.
There was a broad-based failure on the part of the media, the science establishment,
and the federal bureaucracy. With the nation and its leaders looking for
facts, we got instead a massive plume of apocalyptic mythology and threats
Related Article: The
Worst Federal Disaster Response in Our Nation’s History
Related Article: The
Spill Is Gone, So End Drilling Ban
Social Security Trustees Report: Reform Needed Now
By David C. John, Heritage
Foundation, August 11, 2010
The 2010 annual report by
the Social Security trustees has been released. It comes as no surprise
that the Trustees Report predicts massive—and permanent— yearly deficits
if the Social Security system is not reformed. Though the report shows
that Social Security payments are secure for another five years, Social
Security already owes $7.9 trillion more in benefits this year than it
will receive in tax revenues. The time for reform is now—delay will only
make each challenge and problem harder to fix. Heritage Foundation financial
and pension expert David C. John examines the findings of the new Trustees
Report—and explains what they mean for Americans.
to Republicans: It’s Big Government, Stupid!
Michael D. Tanner National
Review, August 11, 2010
Riding a record of unprecedented
government spending, rising debt, a government takeover of the health-care
system, high unemployment, and proposals to tax everything they stumble
across, Democrats have put themselves in position for an epic electoral
defeat that will rival the Republican debacles of 2006 and 2008.
Given this record of Democratic
ineptitude and the voters' reaction to it, one would think that Republicans
would be talking about these issues every day. Instead, Republicans and
conservatives have spent recent weeks talking about such distracting side-issues
as immigration, the 14th amendment, gay marriage, and when and where mosques
should be built.
No doubt these are important
issues to various constituencies. But, the merits of the issues aside,
if Republicans believe that the key to victory this year is to refight
the culture wars, they are mistaken.
Control of the Health Care Debate: Avoiding the Mistakes of the 1990s
By Larry Kudlow, Heritage
Foundation, August 9, 2010
The reason that America needs
health care reform, and the reason that the cost of health care is going
up dramatically faster than we can afford and faster than everything else
in the economy, is that government has broken the system. The health care
system we have today is a product of policy decisions that were made in
the 1990s, but it is also true that the debate on those decisions was decisive
in 1994 in effecting a political revolution. Today, with enactment of the
Obama health care plan, conservatives once again have such an opportunity,
but merely replicating the posture of the 1990s is not enough. They have
to pursue an aggressive, consequential health care reform proposal that
will positively affect the lives of millions of Americans. It is equally
important that Members of Congress, who represent the American people,
do their will and fix this program and at the same time preserve individual
freedom and personal choice.
Workers Earning Double their Private Counterparts
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY,
August 10, 2010
At a time when workers' pay
and benefits have stagnated, federal employees' average compensation has
grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY
analysis finds. What the data show:
Benefits. Federal workers received
average benefits worth $41,791 in 2009. Most of this was the government's
contribution to pensions. Employees contributed an additional $10,569.
Pay. The average federal salary
has grown 33% faster than inflation since 2000. USA TODAY reported in March
that the federal government pays an average of 20% more than private firms
for comparable occupations. The analysis did not consider differences in
experience and education.
Total compensation. Federal
compensation has grown 36.9% since 2000 after adjusting for inflation,
compared with 8.8% for private workers.
Government Worker Advantage
From The Stockton Record,
August 15, 2010
The average federal worker
makes roughly double the total compensation of the average private-sector
worker. An analysis by USA Today found that federal civil servants earned
average pay and benefits of $123,049 last year, while private workers made
$61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis....
One thing glaringly sets federal workers - public employees in general,
for that matter - apart from their private-sector counterparts: pension
benefits. Public-sector workers continue to enjoy pension benefits that
are the envy of most private-sector workers, especially those who have
seen their defined-benefit pensions ended or frozen right along with the
company match on their 401(k) plans.
# # #