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In an interview with 7 Days, Windsor County democratic senator Dick McCormak warned us about Peter Shumlin, “Just make sure you’ve parsed every word. The promise [Shumlin] makes may not be the promise you thought he made. There were times when I did not read the fine print. I won’t make that mistake again.”
This is good advice, and it is being followed in regard to Shumlin’s promise to find $40 million in savings by releasing 780 prisoners (or not releasing, or trading to the Yankees for an unspecified number of felons to be named later… depending upon Shumlin’s latest backpedaling on the subject) from Vermont’s correctional system.
An editorial in Wednesday’s Caledonian Record questions why Vermonters automatically give Leahy a free pass to Porkington, D.C. Leahy “has three Senate offices, all paid for by the taxpayers: Washington, D.C., Burlington and Montpelier.” From these offices Leahy has served the country by contributing to the “creation of the country's $13 trillion deficit. Leahy has tirelessly voted for every tax-and-spend bill ever to go before him.”
The Record sees hope for change in Britton. “The Republican Party has an extremely viable candidate in Len Britton, the owner of a building supply company who recently sold his business so he could run full time.”
This problematic aspect of “democracy” or majority politics isn’t a new one. Some researchers trace it back to 18th century Scottish writer Alexander Tytler, who supposedly used the phrase “…a majority which discovers it can vote itself largesse from the public treasury…” and others disagree, citing a similar 19th century Alexis de Toqueville quote. Even 20th century US Ag Secretary Ezra Taft Benson has been credited, right up there alongside 5th century BC Greek philosopher Plato. In American history, the ancient principle of vote-selling was decried by the LaFollette Republicans, who were so offended by 19th century Chicago ward-heeler politics that they established Progressivism, originally a concept of government by experts (themselves, of course) brighter than your average stupid and venal voter, but then it was employed by modern Vermont Progressive politicians in the design of Act 60, a school tax proposal which encourages a majority of home-owners, via an income-sensitivity tax-increase exemption, to approve increases in educational spending they, personally, won’t be required to pay for. I s’pose it takes a non-Progressive to make the Platonic point that voting yourself OPM (other peoples’ money) is less honorable than voting to pay your own “fair share” (a little Progressive lingo, there) of the costs of the collective enterprise (a little John Dewey educational lingo, there) being proposed. Typically, those who get their own paychecks by expending a lot of time proposing, administering, or even executing such things are enthusiasts for seeing themselves as deserving OPM destinations. But this isn’t an argument for full vote-denial on such self-interest-tainted matters.
Talking with Our Troops: Vermont National guard troops serving in Afghanistan call in to True North Radio live to give us an update of how they are doing. 9/24/20, Capt. Christopher Perra, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team - Mountain/Task Force (TF) Wolverine.
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"The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority."
Judging from some of the campaign season TV commercials, you'd think Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie's running mate was Vermont Yankee.
That's no accident. Green Mountain Future, an independent group that wants the aging nuclear power plant closed when its license expires in 2012, is bankrolling a media campaign bashing Dubie for supporting it.
College counselors struggling with the eternal question of how to subdue binge drinking among students might consider a new and different research-grounded intervention: prayer.
Psychological researchers and Florida and Louisiana State universities charted self-reported drinking and praying frequencies among college undergraduates. In an article in Psychology of Addictive Behavior, “Invocations and Intoxication: Does Prayer Decrease Alcohol Consumption?” they reported the answer to be “Yes.” The more often students said they prayed, generally, the less they said they drank.
The Florida State researchers didn’t stop there. They also studied prayer’s effect on infidelity. Their sample included college students in relationships. Those who were asked to pray for their partners reported a lower incidence of infidelity than did those in the control group. (The sample was limited to students who were somewhat religious, since it would make no sense to ask atheists to pray for their partners.) The study produced another article (forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) with titular a question answered in the affirmative: “Faith and unfaithfulness: Can praying for your partner reduce infidelity?”
When it comes to gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin fulfilling his promise of creating new jobs, we're reminded of the scenes in John Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men" where the character Lenny has an unfortunate tendency to suffocate the things he loves the most. Shumlin's a little bit like that when it comes to creating jobs. His opponent, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, expressed it well when he told a debate audience, "Peter Shumlin can get things done. That scares me a little bit. That's why I'm running for governor."
While announcing job creation is Job No. 1 if he's elected governor, the reality is Shumlin's spent the last few terms in the Senate working as hard as he can to throw 650 employees in Windham County out of work. The fact Shumlin represents Windham County in the Senate makes his enthusiasm for killing 650 high-paying union jobs in Vernon all the harder to understand. Actually, a study by state economist Richard Heaps estimates the total job loss from the closure of Vermont Yankee will be 1,288 jobs, directly and indirectly attributable to the Shumlin-led, all-out assault on Vermont Yankee.
Several months ago I wrote to Vermonters about the status of the State and Teachers Pension and Health Care Plans and the need to take action, as the path that we were on is both unsustainable and dangerous for our state's fiscal future. The scope of the problem bears repeating:
Why should Vermonters vote for Leahy? We can't think of a good reason. This week, he'd have you believe he somehow made Vermont's 99,000-pound weight limit on Vermont interstates happen. The truth is he did everything in his power to block the weight change for years and years. He's got a pretty good wind gauge attached to one of his hands and finally realized the public overwhelmingly supported the weight increase. Now all of a sudden Leahy invented it. Pat Leahy's other single greatest contribution in the Senate is the creation of the country's $13 trillion deficit. Leahy has tirelessly voted for every tax-and-spend bill ever to go before him.
Let's hold a nice retirement party for Leahy. We can hold it in voting booths all throughout the state this November. Please help Pat Leahy begin a nice, long retirement on his Vermont farm. Together we can guarantee Leahy the best retirement our tax dollars can buy.
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Computer World magazine recently pronounced Stuxnet, “a piece of malware so devious in its use of unpatched vulnerabilities, so sophisticated in its multipronged approach, that the security researchers who tore it apart believe it may be the work of state-backed professionals.” And according to the latest article in the magazine, speculation is rife that Israel may have been behind the worm – and that it was designed to sabotage or even take control of the operating systems for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor.
Stuxnet is an even more dramatic transformational event: warfare is never going to be the same, at least while the underlying protocols governing the Internet create these kinds of systemic vulnerabilities. But even if there was agreement to rewrite these protocols starting tomorrow, such a project would take a decade. So, let the damage assessment begin. Who knows? By demonstrating how Iran could so very easily experience a Chernobyl-like catastrophe, or the entire destruction of its conventional energy grid, the first round of the “war” may have already been won.
China and Venezuela have signed a deal for Beijing to lend $20 billion to Caracas in exchange for crude-oil shipments and stakes in Venezuelan oil fields. The two are also discussing multibillion-dollar deals that would entail China investing in critical areas, such as Venezuela’s dilapidated electricity grid. China doesn’t have much interest in paying the exorbitant cost of shipping low-grade Venezuelan crude halfway around the world, but it is interested in technology to develop and produce low-grade crude. In many ways, China is presenting itself as the lifeline to the Venezuelan regime. Whether all these deals reach fruition remains a big question, and how far Beijing intends to go in this relationship with Caracas will matter greatly to the United States. A Chinese willingness to go beyond quid pro quo deals and subsidize Venezuela could lead to Chinese investments threatening existing U.S. energy assets in Venezuela, potentially giving Beijing leverage against Washington in the U.S. backyard. But subsidizing countries is not cheap, and China has not yet shown a willingness to take a more confrontational stance with the United States over Venezuela.
After claiming to have received the first $4 billion installment of the $20 billion loan from China, Chavez said China is lending the money because “China knows that this revolution is here to stay.” Like Cuba, Venezuela may not have the economic heft to back up its revolutionary zeal, but it is finding useful friends of the revolution in China. In this time of need, Venezuela’s challenge lies in finding allies willing to cross the threshold from economic partner to strategic patron.
The terrorist threat faced by the U.S. nine years after the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington is far more difficult to detect but less likely to produce mass-casualty attacks, according to the former leaders of the 9/11 Commission.
A report from a group led by the former commissioners, to be released Friday, finds terrorism is increasingly taking on an American cast, reflected in the growth of homegrown threats and the movement of terrorists recruited from the U.S. to areas like the horn of Africa and Yemen.
The report concludes some of the most-feared types of attacks are now unlikely, such as those using nuclear or biological weapons, or attacks on malls and shopping centers in less-populated cities. Despite al Qaeda's long-running interest in mass-casualty weapons, it hasn't shown the capacity to mount attacks with them, the report says.
Security experts want a new dividing line between "moderate" and "radical" Islam delineated not by violence but by a willingness to hold the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land in America.
The new "Team B II report" (Shariah: The Threat to America) just out from a respected group of national security professionals details the threat America faces from Islamic shariah law, an ideology using a stealth approach called “civilization jihad” to subvert the Constitution.
Does the First Amendment protect Christians who bring their message to Muslims at public events or in front of mosques? This is a good question, given the trend of missionaries being placed under arrest while proselytizing to followers of Islam — right here in the United States:
Since the popular revolt began in June 2009 following Mr. Ahmadinejad's fraudulent re-election, skeptics have argued that the movement's strength was overblown, largely a fixation of Western idealists. They said it was a secular, elitist affair, mostly limited to Tehran, that did not threaten the mullahs' power.
The diplomatic defections tell another story. Messrs. Heydari, Farhangian and Alizadeh could not have been more entrenched within the structure of the Islamic Republic. "We came from within the system, all three of us are war veterans," says Mr. Heydari. "There's also a lot of dissatisfaction within the Revolutionary Guard, the Intelligence Ministry and organizations like state TV and radio. There are a lot of people who are working undercover. It looks like they are working for the regime, but they are working for us—their heart is with the Green movement."
More is coming, says Mr. Heydari. "I was the first, but I'm not going to be the last, nor are my friends who defected recently. So long as the Iranian people's demands are not met, you will continue to see defections."
The Tea Party victories of last week have clearly revealed the movement for what it actually is: not a tantrum, not a voter mutiny, not a short-term insurrection, but something never actually seen before in this country -- it is a counter-revolution.
A counter-revolution -- not merely a reaction against Obama, although he was certainly the trigger, but a nationwide backlash against politics as-as-usual as it has been defined over the past seventy years. Though the New Deal did nothing to ease the Depression, it did succeed in rearranging the political landscape, utterly wrecking the contemporary Republican Party, and converting the Dems to a working political philosophy of permanent revolution. Since the 1930s, American politics has been a madhouse of Fair Deals, New Frontiers, Great Societies, and Green this-and-thats, topped with a genuine, certified messiah to lead us all into the Promised Land. Liberalism was converted into an ideology, much like the other ideologies of the epoch, and with similar flaws: fanaticism, political blindness, and dedication to an invisible, ever-receding goal. It has left a trail of destroyed traditions, wrecked institutions, betrayed minorities, and failed policies (not to mention tens -- and perhaps hundreds -- of thousands of dead Americans). Its accomplishments are comprehensible only in terms of the ideology itself, which means that they are imaginary. This process has brought us to a point where we're looking at the possibility of an actual authoritarian society comparable to the type that we destroyed wholesale across Europe and Asia during the 20th century. If this succeeds, it will be one of the most cynical and bitter historical ironies on record.
The GOP’s Ante The “Pledge to America” is not the sum total of the Republican agenda. It is the opening bid. by Jonah Goldberg National Review, September 24 2010
It’s true that running on something rather than on nothing might cost the GOP some campaign victories, but running on nothing would deny them even more policy victories. Sending Republicans back into power without a clear mission is like sending teenagers to Vegas for a school trip without a chaperone. Sure, they’ll check out the museums.
As for the argument that the Pledge doesn’t go far enough, that’s obviously true. But it’s also true that the Pledge is far, far more ambitious than the Contract with America was.
Moreover, the fact that it garners support from across the GOP caucus is a good sign, not a bad one, not least because it shows that the GOP can reach out to both the tea parties and independents. Obama and Pelosi’s alienation of independents is destroying the Democratic party right now. Why should the GOP emulate that strategy?
Conservatives shouldn’t look at the Pledge as the sum total of the Republican agenda. They should see it as the opening bid.
Yes, the economy is in atrocious shape. Yes, what's happening has terrible real-life consequences for millions. But why is it that the worst Chicken Littles are always running for office?
Take Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who, in a recent interview with The New York Times, claimed that the first decade of the new century was "basically a complete waste of time" and a "false economy." During a recent Denver Post editorial board meeting, Bennet added that our generation is in jeopardy of "squandering" its legacy and leaving the world in worse shape than it was when our grandparents and parents gave it to us.
These popular platitudes ignore all kinds of realities. Government may have squandered riches, but we certainly haven't squandered a decade. You can bet that your grandparents lived through tougher life than you. And in all likelihood, you have more opportunities and comforts and fewer risks to deal with than your parents, as well.
What then is Obama's dream? We don't have to speculate because the President tells us himself in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. According to Obama, his dream is his father's dream. Notice that his title is not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father. Obama isn't writing about his father's dreams; he is writing about the dreams he received from his father.
So who was Barack Obama Sr.? He was a Luo tribesman who grew up in Kenya and studied at Harvard. He was a polygamist who had, over the course of his lifetime, four wives and eight children. One of his sons, Mark Obama, has accused him of abuse and wife-beating. He was also a regular drunk driver who got into numerous accidents, killing a man in one and causing his own legs to be amputated due to injury in another. In 1982 he got drunk at a bar in Nairobi and drove into a tree, killing himself.
An odd choice, certainly, as an inspirational hero. But to his son, the elder Obama represented a great and noble cause, the cause of anticolonialism. Obama Sr. grew up during Africa's struggle to be free of European rule, and he was one of the early generation of Africans chosen to study in America and then to shape his country's future.
I know a great deal about anticolonialism, because I am a native of Mumbai, India. I am part of the first Indian generation to be born after my country's independence from the British. Anticolonialism was the rallying cry of Third World politics for much of the second half of the 20th century. To most Americans, however, anticolonialism is an unfamiliar idea, so let me explain it.
Anticolonialism is the doctrine that rich countries of the West got rich by invading, occupying and looting poor countries of Asia, Africa and South America. As one of Obama's acknowledged intellectual influences, Frantz Fanon, wrote in The Wretched of the Earth, "The well-being and progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs, Indians and the yellow races."
Judicial Watch made an explosive announcement today about the Justice Department’s stonewalling in the New Black Panther voter intimidation case dismissal. Forced to bring a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit after DOJ rebuffed its public records request (so much for transparency), Judicial Watch obtained a privilege log from the DOJ last week.
It shows — in a rather dramatic way — that the DOJ has been untruthful about who was involved in the dismissal of the case.
Imagine if five states announced that they lacked the money and manpower to ship ballots before the fall federal election to precincts in predominantly black rural counties. The Justice Department appropriately would shift into fifth gear to assure that those Americans could vote on November 2. Enforcement lawsuits would fly like pigeons fleeing a breezy school yard.
Now, convert those rural blacks into American GIs serving abroad. Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington are dragging their feet on the urgent task of delivering absentee mid-term-election ballots to overseas service members. The response at Justice’s Voting Rights Division in Washington, D.C. echoes a Louis Armstrong tune: “It’s sleepy time down South.”
Saturday, September 18 will mark 45 days until the election. According to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act), that is the deadline by which states must send unmarked ballots overseas. That period should allow ballots to reach GIs, from bases in Germany to trenches in Afghanistan, and return by Election Night.