North Archives - September 01, 2010
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of Structural Changes
By Tom Licata
we are experiencing today is nothing short of the structural changes that
transpired during the 1920s through 1940s; which were followed by decades
of unprecedented prosperity and growth in the United States. Today’s
structural changes will not be followed by such good fortune.
By Deborah T. Bucknam
I read a story about a young American who stayed with a family in Leningrad
during the Soviet era. The family would gather around the TV set every
night to watch the news. The young man reported that the news was unvarying:
great news from the Soviet Union, good news from Eastern Europe, and bad
news from the West.
Vermont Public Radio follows
the Soviet era model. A review of its morning and evening news broadcasts
over the last several months reveals that VPR reports great news about
Democrats and particularly our Democratic congressional delegation, good
news from the Progressive party, and in the rare instances it reports on
Republican candidates, bad news.
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of liberty - your respect for the laws - your habits of industry - and
your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest
claims to national and individual happiness." – George Washington
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Weekly News Round-Up
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 31 2010
Here are some Vermont accomplishments
of which we can be proud (?). The Cato Institute did a study of the percentage
of non-poor people in the country who are getting benefits from one of
the eight federal welfare programs. Non-poor people are those whose income
levels are above the federal poverty level. Of all the United States, Vermont
was No. 1 with 17.5 percent of its non-poor citizens receiving welfare
benefits. No. 2 was Mississippi with 14.4 percent non-poor citizens on
welfare. New Hampshire was No. 32 at 7.8 percent.
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
periodically rates state education standards for clarity and rigor. In
2010, it found Vermont's English language arts standards among the worst
in the country, rating a D, and our mathematics standards, again, among
the worst in the country with an F.
Foundation report on the Vermont Standards
Tax Credits Go to Companies with Ties to Vermont Board
By Daniel Barlow, Rutland
Herald, Sep 1, 2010
A majority of the solar tax
credits awarded by the state last month went to a renewable energy developer
who was once a member of the board deciding how to allocate the funds.
Companies founded by, and
linked to, Burlington renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf received
$4.3 million in tax credits for solar projects across Vermont. The total
pool of available tax credits was about $7 million.
Energy Depends On Subsidies For Fuel
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 26, 2010
Vermont's Clean Energy Development
Fund Board recently considered how to hand out $7.5 million worth of solar
tax credits to developers proposing solar energy projects. When it became
apparent many of the projects would not be given tax credits that they
were counting on to make their projects feasible, some developers were
Chief among the unhappy participants
was David Blittersdorf, founder of NRG Systems and the owner of All Earth
Renewables. Blittersdorf previously served as a board member of the Clean
Energy Development Fund. He resigned in July after sponsoring more than
half of all the tax credit requests submitted to the board. As soon as
Blittersdorf realized his ship might not come in, he promptly announced
he would be thinking hard about taking all his business out of state. Later
in the meeting, Blittersdorf was quoted as saying, "If New York state offered
me $5 million in tax credits to move to the other side of the lake, I would
have to give it some serious thought." Such loyalty.
Board Adopts Costly Mandates
By William J. Mathis Times
Argus, August 29, 2010
School budgets, school quality
and property taxes are particularly fluorescent issues in election and
school seasons. With a stagnant economy and a state deficit, they are even
more intense. Thus, to see these issues addressed at the August meeting
of the state Board of Education was not surprising. Unfortunately, instead
of making things better, they may have made them worse.
Board brows were furrowed
examining charts and graphs on the average 2 percent cuts imposed on local
schools for next year. Since inflation has to be absorbed and new state
mandates (early education, employee background checks, technology, etc.)
must be implemented, the real cut to school budgets may be closer to 5
And Absurd; More Money, More Teachers
Caledonia Record Editorial,
August 24, 2010
The English language metaphor
for adding more of anything to whatever we already have too much of is,
"Carrying coal to Newcastle." In England, Newcastle is the center of the
coal mining industry. The last thing that Newcastle needs is more coal.
That is what is happening
in Vermont as a spin-off from President Obama's payback to the teacher
unions that spent millions getting him elected. Vermont's share of his
recent squandering of $600 million more stimulus money to hire/rehire more
teachers is $16 million. The five Democratic candidates for governor all
want to spend the money as soon as it arrives. On what? They don't know.
The single Republican candidate suggests holding on to it until something
truly needed and unaffordable comes along.
Vermont needs more teachers
about the same way Newcastle needs more coal. We already have the lowest
student/teacher ratio in the nation at 10-to-1. We have established the
unenviable record of increasing the number of Vermont teachers over a 10-year
period, when the student population has fallen by 25 percent, and by just
about the same percentage. Our cost per student is perhaps the highest
in the nation. A simple question: Where will we put all of these additional
$19 Million Choice: Does it go to the Teachers or the Taxpayers?
Leopold Not Immune in BT Lawsuit
By John Briggs, Burlington
Free Press, August 21 2010
A Superior Court judge Friday
denied motions by the city of Burlington and Chief Administrative Officer
Jonathan Leopold to dismiss a lawsuit arising from Burlington Telecom's
The city argued that because
the state Public Service Board is addressing questions arising from Burlington
Telecom's failure to repay $17 million of public money used for BT within
the 60 days required by BT's state license, Superior Court does not have
jurisdiction in the matter.
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Global War on Terrorism
Il wind in China
By Richard Weitz, Hudson
Institute, August 30, 2010
Chinese officials are indicating
that one of the results of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s visit to China
last week was that he has agreed to rejoin the Six-Party Talks aiming to
denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Unfortunately, we have heard this before,
and one should not expect Beijing to exert itself to achieve this result
any more than it has in the past.
It is understandable that
the international community has looked to the People’s Republic of China
(PRC) to influence Pyongyang’s policies and help end the protracted dispute
over North Korea’s nuclear program and its other threatening behavior.
The PRC is North Korea’s most important foreign diplomatic, economic, and
security partner. Through the Six-Party Talks and other mechanisms, PRC
policymakers have sought to convince the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea (DPRK) to relinquish its nuclear weapons and moderate its other foreign
and defense policies in return for security assurances, economic assistance,
and diplomatic acceptance by the rest of the international community. Such
a benign outcome would avoid the feared consequences of precipitous regime
change—humanitarian emergencies, economic reconstruction, arms races, and
Yet, Beijing’s willingness
to pressure Pyongyang to modify its policies is constrained by a fundamental
consideration. Unlike most policymakers in Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington,
PRC policymakers want to change Pyongyang’s behavior, not its regime. Chinese
officials remain more concerned about the potential collapse of the DPRK
than about its government’s intransigence on the nuclear issue or other
questions. The PRC government has accordingly been willing to take only
limited steps to achieve its objectives. These measures have included exerting
some pressure (criticizing DPRK behavior and temporarily reducing economic
assistance), but mostly have aimed to bribe Pyongyang through economic
assistance and other inducements. Despite their frustrations with Kim Jong-Il,
PRC policymakers appear to have resigned themselves to dealing with his
regime for now, while hoping a more accommodating leadership will eventually
emerge in Pyongyang.
Related Article: If
Only China Were More Like Japan
in the Iranian Monolith
Opposition is spreading
in the streets, in prisons, and even in the military.
By Michael Ledeen, The Wall
Street Journal, August 24, 2010
The Iranian regime loves
to boast of its military strength, international clout and hold on domestic
power. Much of this is accepted by outside experts, but in fact the regime
is in trouble. Iran's leaders have lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people,
are unable to manage the country's many problems, face a growing opposition,
and are openly fighting with one another.
A few weeks ago, according
to official and private reports, the Iranian air force shot down three
drones near the southwestern city of Bushehr, where a Russian-supplied
nuclear reactor has just started up. When the Revolutionary Guards inspected
the debris, they expected to find proof of high-altitude spying. Instead,
the Guards had to report to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that the air force
had blasted Iran's own unmanned aircraft out of the sky.
Apparently, according to
official Iranian press accounts, the Iranian military had created a special
unit to deploy the drones—some for surveillance and others, as President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged on Sunday, to carry bombs—but hadn't informed
the air force.
Our Interests, and Iraq’s
The National Review Online,
September 1, 2010
‘Tell me how this ends,"
Gen. David Petraeus famously asked during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It’s
still a question no one can answer, although the odds of a satisfactory
outcome have vastly increased since 2006, when Iraq was spiraling downward
into a hellish civil war.
For now, we have transformed
Iraq from a hostile, terrorist-supporting dictatorship destabilizing the
region into a ramshackle democracy that is an ally in the war on terror.
To get Iraq to this point, in January 2007 President Bush had to order
tens of thousands of additional troops into a failing war, in the teeth
of gale-force opposition from the political establishment, public opinion,
and the balance of the military brass. To capitalize on the opportunity
we have bought in Iraq with blood and treasure, President Obama has to
do something much easier: resist a strategically witless urge to turn
his back on Iraq as being merely the site of "Bush’s war."
Muslim Brotherhood, America's Partner in Government
From Family Security Matters,
September 1, 2010
But the speech is also part
of another agenda that this administration has encouraged – the wholesale
abandonment of America’s historical traditions to put Islam center-stage
into American politics, and worse – pandering to and supporting the Muslim
Zero Mosque Madness:
NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s
Bloomberg LLC expanding its financial center to a regional hub in Dubai.
By Ann "Babe" Huggett, Emerging
Corruption, August 16, 2010
New York City Mayor, Michael
Bloomberg, is currently on record excoriating opponents to the construction
of the Islamic Cordoba Center mosque scheduled to begin construction on
September 11, 2011 in Lower Manhattan. The proposed mosque’s site
is two blocks from the former World Trade Center’s Twin Towers destroyed
ten years previously on September 11, 2001 by Islamic jihadists.
Bloomberg’s demands of religious tolerance from his city’s citizens is
inconsistent in a city with 100 mosques already in operation but with a
school system that will not acknowledge Christianity or Christmas, or even
allow the repairs necessary for the Greek Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas,
to go forward nearly a decade after it was crushed by falling debris from
the Twin Towers themselves.
Paralleling Mayor Bloomberg’s
veiled insults towards those acutely aware of the historical Islamic conquest
of non-Muslim lands by their building of mosques on top of or dominating
a conquered people’s holy sites, is the concurrent Bloomberg LLC’s expansion
of its Dubai financial center into a regional hub for the UAE. Founded
in 1981 by Michael Bloomberg, who privately owns 85% of the limited liability
corporation, Bloomberg LLC is a dominant player in global financial software,
data gathering and news, commanding one third of its market niche estimated
at $16 billion dollars.
Getting Worse: Reposition Our Forces
By Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely,
US Army (Ret), Family Security Matters, August 31, 2010
We see more casualties each
day and the leadership standbys a self-destructive and self-defeating strategy
of "counter-insurgency" (COIN) doctrine and nation-building. The COIN principle
is not based on winning; it is based on political whims and is not a true
tenet of warfare. Warfare is, and always should be, about WINNING or do
not go to War. Great Generals and Admirals of battles past had enough acumen
and understanding of the tides of battle to change the strategies and tactics
to turn the tide on the enemy. Not today!
Latest report received
by Stand Up America today. Please read and understand what he is saying
with identical messages coming forth from the troops the past two years.
As I said on the Fred Thompson radio show when General Petraeus departed
for Kabul that you will see no change and the situation will get worse.
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Beck’s Ecumenical Moment
The "Restoring Honor"
rally showcased a nation dedicated to its constitutional heritage.
By Jonah Goldberg, The National
Review Online, September 1, 2010
One striking feature of Saturday’s
rally was how deeply religious and ecumenical it was. It seems like just
yesterday that everyone was talking about how Christian evangelicals were
too bigoted to vote for upright and uptight Mormon Mitt Romney. Yet Christian
activists saw no problem cheering for — and praying with — the equally
Mormon but far less uptight Beck, who asked citizens to go to "your churches,
synagogues, and mosques!"
The inclusiveness transcended
mere religion. While the crowd was preponderantly white, the message was
racially universalistic. That was evident not just on the stage, but in
the crowd as well. When Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie asked a couple
whether as "African-Americans" they felt comfortable in such a white audience,
the woman responded emphatically but good-naturedly: "First of all, I’m
not African, I am an American . . . a black American." She went on to explain
how "these people" — i.e., the white folks cheering her on — "are my family."
Related Article: Glenn
Beck's "Restoring Honor" Speech: Good Medicine for All Americans
in a Time of Recession
By Samuel Gregg, The Acton
Institute for Religion and Liberty, September 1, 2010
Since 2008, there has been
much discussion about the contribution of unethical behavior to our present
economic circumstances. Whether it was borrowers’ lying on mortgage-applications
or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s politically-driven lending policies, there
seems to be some consciousness that non-economic factors played a role
in facilitating what we already call the Great Recession.
Unfortunately evidence is
emerging that some people have learned nothing. A recent report, for example,
commissioned by the Wall Street Journal illustrates
that "losses from mortgage fraud—ranging from falsified credit reports
to identity theft—rose 17% last year after declining 57% in the two years
after its 2006 peak."
Of course wider adherence
to ethical norms against lying and stealing won’t solve every economic
problem. There are heavy technical dimensions to many economic dilemmas
which require technical solutions. Nor does every policy-error constitute
a moral failure.
Nevertheless those making
economic decisions are human beings, and our virtues and vices do shape
our purchasing, selling and policy choices. Many such virtues could be
highlighted, but one needing extra-attention today is humility.
to the Party
If the tea-party candidates
are so extreme, why are they so popular?
Michael Tanner, The National
Review Online, September 1, 2010
At first glance, it seemed
a silly headline even by the standards of MSNBC: "Can the GOP Survive a
Tea Party Takeover?"
Of course, the story was
yet another in the narrative that has been eagerly embraced by both the
mainstream media and desperate Democrats: "Extreme"
candidates who are associated with the tea-party movement are dooming
Republicans to defeat this fall. If only the Republicans had nominated
more moderate, "go along to get along" candidates, who supported tax increases
and the health-care bill — why, they might even manage a ten-point lead
in the Gallup generic ballot.
In fact, Republicans do
have a ten-point generic-ballot lead, the biggest GOP lead in the history
of Gallup’s tracking poll.
About Human Rights
By Roger Pilon, The Cato
Institute, September 1, 2010
So what's going on here?
A little background will be useful. Founded on the ashes of the Second
World War, the United Nations assumed as one of its gravest missions the
protection of human rights. Toward that end, however, its declaration on
the subject cobbled together both real and spurious "rights."
Hence the United Nations'
two main rights covenants: one on civil and political rights — those any
American would recognize — to which the United States is a party; and the
other on economic, social, and cultural "rights" commonly recognized by
European welfare states, which the United States signed but the U.S. Senate
has never ratified.
The Carter administration
was less than adept at defending America against Soviet charges that we
failed to protect the second class of "rights." By contrast, the Reagan
administration showed that the United States not only protected real rights,
but in doing so afforded American citizens far more of the results that
the Soviets purported to be providing their citizens as rights. Moreover,
President Ronald Reagan went on the offensive, using the U.N. Commission
on Human Rights as a forum for public diplomacy against some of the worst
regimes of the Cold War, including the Soviet Union.
With the end of the Cold
War, however, the lines between the two kinds of rights grew blurry. What's
more, "human rights" became just another club to be wielded for political
ends by human-rights abusers who sat on the commission, often targeting
Israel and America.
Blame War For Spike In Deficit
By Tim Cavanaugh, Investor’s
Business Daily, August 31, 2010
Federal Spending: The CBO
says eight years of war in Iraq were less expensive than the president's
failed stimulus package. In Iraq, we jettisoned a losing strategy and changed
generals. Hint, hint.
the Trade Gap to Blame for Slowing GDP Growth?
By Daniel Griswold, The
Cato Institute, August 27, 2010
The fatal flaw of the story
line (as I tackled recently here
and at greater length here)
is that it assumes that rising imports slow economic growth. That assumption,
in turn, rests on a simplistic Keynesian view that if a portion of domestic
demand is satisfied by spending on imports, that means less demand for
domestically produced goods, thus less output and lower employment.
That view neglects the supply-side
role of imports. More than half of what we import consists of goods consumed
by producers—capital machinery, raw materials, parts and other intermediate
inputs. Those imports help us produce more, not less. The Keynesian view
also confuses cause and effect: Imports usually grow in response to RISING
domestic demand. Consumers more eager to spend "swelling sums" on imports
typically buy more domestically produced goods as well.
Bush Tax Increase'
solution to a Democratic conundrum.
James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, , August 31, 2010
Unless Congress acts, the
Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 will expire Jan. 1. The prospect of big
tax increases has contributed to sluggish growth, and Democrats, facing
increasingly dire forecasts for November, are beginning to think maybe
it would be a good idea to extend the Bush cuts. This creates a bit of
a dilemma, because Democrats love taxes.
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