North Archives - November 18, 2008
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for Excellence: Another Look at American Individualism
By Robert Maynard
The vision of the left is
one of a socially engineered society in which those running the show would
guarantee an egalitarian equality of results. This would require obliterating
any natural distinctions between individuals. The result is that individuals
end up as mere cogs in massive socio-political collective machine run by
all knowing bureaucrats.
The conservative worldview
begins with the Judeo-Christian notion of the individual person as a moral
agent who is endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness.
Further clarification is in order here. Today our view of happiness tends
to be hedonistic. We want to feel good immediately and tend not to think
too far ahead. So we see a night out or a pleasant activity as a route
to happiness. This was not the view that the founders had in mind.
W. Bush's Last Sorry Gift to America
by John McClaughry
Congressman John Dingell, the venerable Democratic chairman of the House
Energy and Commerce Committee, said the proposed regulations had "the potential
for shutting down or slowing down virtually all industry and all economic
activity and growth." It would surely wreck what's left of the U.S. auto
The Notice governs not only
industries, power plants, cars, trucks and airplanes, but also greenhouse
gas emissions from dairy herds of more than 25 cows. It would regulate
logging and farms with over 500 acres of crops, farm tractors, and lawn
and garden equipment. EPA even proposes regulations for snowmobiles and
Gentry-Left and the Wealth Gap
By Martin Harris
on anecdotal evidence you might conclude that Vermont has experienced,
in recent years, an enlargement of its own internal Wealth Gap (measured
as the percent of total income, including capital gains, going to the top
1 percent of earners) and some of us trace this result to specific long-running
State Government policies regarding job-creation, regulatory climate, planning
and zoning, and so on, but you must also note that enlargement of the Wealth
Gap is likewise a nationwide phenomenon. Historically, the charts show,
the share of total income now going to the top 1 percent is at 23 (as of
2006) which is just about where it was at its pre-Great-Depression peak
in 1926. It bottomed out at 8 percent in 1975. This 1 percent of the population
pays 35 percent of all income taxes.
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Week’s Mail Bag
Tragedy Times Two
In August of 1998, my 18
year old son was killed by a drunk driver. Just two weeks ago, on
Nov. 5th, 2008, my father, who lives in Florida, was seriously injured
in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver. This driver was
heading the wrong way on the highway, directly at oncoming traffic.
One of the vehicles was a tractor trailer truck, who attempted to avoid
this driver, lost control, crossed the median and hit my father head on.
Thank goodness my father is expected to make a full recovery, but that
is beside the point. Two accidents caused by drunk drivers have affected
my family in the past ten years. Totally unacceptable!! At
any given time, other members of my family are in danger from drunk drivers
due to ridiculously lenient punishments, at least in Vermont.
I have been reading the court
news for several months now, and am flabbergasted at the lack of consistency
and punishment that judges apply to these cases. First time offenders
get fines anywhere from $200 - $350 and suspension of their licenses.
I say amend this to $750, which if not paid, can be worked off through
community service at minimum wage. As for the license suspension,
we all know this does not work, and the offender needs to be held accountable.
A fine of $750.00 per offense should be assessed, and if not paid, again,
community service at minimum wage.
Second time offenders should
automatically be fined $1000, have their licenses suspended, with the same
stipulations as noted above, and should spend 60 days in jail as it is
apparent that they did not learn from the first round of punishment.
Third time offenders should automatically be sent to jail for 10 years,
no reduction in sentence, no matter the excuse. I hear bleeding hearts
cry that these individuals have jobs and families to support, etc.
Well, each and every time they get behind the wheel drunk, they show that
their jobs and families do not matter. They also show that everyone
else's family does not matter either. Lastly, there should be no
more reducing the charges to a lesser offense, such as careless and negligent
operation of a vehicle, which is done more times than I wish to count.
Three strikes, you are out!!
Until we demand that our
lawmakers and judges make and apply laws that are in accordance to the
crime of drinking and driving, more tragedies will occur. None
of us is safe.
I do wish to thank the Vermont
State Police and other local police forces for their diligence in trying
to keep our roads safe. They work hard, oftentimes giving up their
holidays to make sure that our holidays will be happy ones. Now,
if only the judges will do their jobs.
Be safe this holiday season.
The Gift of the Jews
Thank you for writing your
piece, "The Gift of the Jews." I very much appreciate your research
effort as it helped bring understanding to the core struggle in America
today, which I believe is full circle back to the core struggle in 1776.
That is, whether we as a culture will embrace that basic human rights come
from our Creator or from man. As a nation whose predominant cultural
values lay the foundation for our public policy, it is especially important
that each citizen seriously consider their own understanding of humanity
and our world and its consequences personally as well as to our nation.
While Americans have very high disapproval rating for Congress, we must
admit that Congress as a whole is a reflection of the people of this nation,
because we elected each member. It is folly to think that Congress even
consider foundational principles and their consequences until we first
consider them and apply them to our own lives.
It is no accident that we
live in the freest and most prosperous nation in all history. As your piece
demonstrates, it is a direct result of our nation’s foundation being on
the Judeo-Christian worldview, which acknowledges among other things that
man is created and not merely a result of chance. The importance of this
should not be underestimated and the truth of it can be backed up by the
outcomes of those societies that embrace a creator or reject a creator.
Like the saying, "the proof
is in the pudding," results give credence to ideas. If even a quarter of
this nation seriously considered this issue personally, and claim both
the rights and responsibilities that accompany this proven worldview, I
believe our nation would rebound in a hurry and be the envy of the world
for the next century, like it has been for nearly the past two centuries.
"The American people
will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism,"
they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day
America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."
Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate 1940, 1944,
Weekly News Round-Up
Down: A View from Inside
Vermont Tiger November 14,
In Vermont classrooms and
in classrooms around the country, expectations of teachers for their students
are constantly being dumbed down. Most of our readers probably already
suspect this. What people might not know is exactly how it happens.
Let me offer one of many instances.
Ubiquitous Permit Trap as Seen in Newport
Caledonia Record Editorial
November 10, 2008
Once again, Vermont's permit
trap is stopping construction of a needed facility, this time the 22,000-square-foot
expansion of North Country Hospital. The expansion had already applied
for and received permits from the Newport City Development Review Board
and the District 7 Environmental Commission (Act 250) when two sets of
disgruntled neighbors, Mark and Sharon Stewart and Dan and Sarah Roy, appealed
these permits to the Environmental Court, thereby stopping construction
until the Environmental Court rules on their appeal, a significant and,
in our opinion, unjustified delay.
From Vermont Tiger November
The basket of consumer goods
bought at the Williston supermarket was 16% more expensive than the one
purchased at the nearby WalMart. The same basket, bought in St. Albans
where the people have been defended against the predations of WalMart?
Well, it was 29% more expensive but, then, that doesn’t take in to account
quality of life.Then, we elect a governor to somehow rationalize it all.
To square the circle. To make revenues match expenditures (instead
of the other way around) and somehow save us from ourselves.
Illegals Highlight a Bigger Problem
From WCAX-TV November 14,
While the five illegal construction
workers will likely soon be deported-- their employer will probably receive
little more than a slap on the wrist. "The law is toothless if you will,"
explained Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R-Essex and Orleans Counties. The penalty
for hiring an illegal worker in Vermont is a $100 to $300 fine for a first
offense; up to $750 for any subsequent offenses.
Are Not an Island ... and VSAC is a sinking ship
From VermontTiger.com, November
VSAC offices and the VSAC
Resource Center were closed yesterday for the VSAC annual meeting, and
one can only hope they booked a large room and blocked off the whole day
– they have some serious issues to discuss. Despite an estimated
$19.6 million dollar appropriation from the legislature (read: taxpayers),
VSAC still needs an estimated $390 million to fund loans, of which $230
million is needed annually in new capital. In recent years VSAC has financed
their operations with Auction Rate Demand Securities (ARS). The blow-up
of the ARS market was touched on several times here at Vermont Tiger and
on Vermont Scrap Wood in March and April. At the time we were assured that
this was a temporary situation and that VSAC would seek alternative funding.
Well folks it's November and according to a
recent report (pdf), every single VSAC
auction for their auction rate securities failed, and the penalty rate
of interest is still as high as 9.27%. This doesn't bode well for VSAC,
or taxpayers who may well end up footing the bill through increased requests
Caledonia Record Editorial
November 13, 2008
On Nov. 1, the federal government
went into unfair competition with a small, privately owned pharmacy that
has served our towns for over 75 years, since 1933. Gauthier's Pharmacy,
started by the Gauthier family and now owned by Dr. Carol Novick, has just
lost a pile of business and long-term customers to the government's ever-more
grasping socialized medical services. Dr. Novick has lost its contractual
arrangement with Northern Counties Health Care, of St. Johnsbury, Concord,
Danville, Hardwick, and Island Pond. Northern Counties, and four other
federally qualified health centers, have formed an exclusive mail order
drug store in Colchester called the Community Health Pharmacy.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Europe is Secretly Afraid of a Socialist America
By James Lewis, American
Thinker, November 14, 2008
Suppose you've been living
under the protective wings of a benevolent superpower for sixty years.
And suppose you've used that big half century to take off on an endless
vacation -- spending all your tax money to buy votes for the socialist
Ruling Class. It's been one long, grand, drug-infested, sex-drenched, self-indulgent,
tabloid party scene. Any time danger threatens you look to Washington for
protection. The rest of the time you noisily abuse those Yankee imperialists,
merely to boost your fragile ego. Corruption has become pervasive.
That's Europe today. What
a sweet deal. But now you see your guardian superpower electing
a guy who wants to follow your example. Whooops! Time to sober up. Fast.
By Michael Ledeen, National
Review, November 14, 2008
Laurent Murawiec’s The
Mind of Jihad is, at last, a book on radical Islam that does it
all. Unlike many engaged in the heated debate over the nature of our enemies,
Murawiec does not believe that ancient texts tell us all we need to know.
He insists that all ideas change over time, even those believed to have
been dictated by God’s angel. He has therefore immersed himself not only
in the sacred texts of Islam but also in the richly variegated speeches,
writings, and actions of its most extremist practitioners: the jihadis
waging war against us.
Poses New Threat to Region and World
By Riki Ellison, Family
Security Matters, November 15, 2008
Earlier this week, Iran launched
a two stage solid fuel ballistic missile with a range of 1,200 miles making
U.S. troops, bases, and allies in the Middle East most notably Israel vulnerable
to threats, intimidation and influence from Iran and its President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad. This display of provocation intended to engage the new administration
under President-elect Obama follows the similar tactics of the President
of Russia Dmitry Medvedev who set a precedent less than a week ago by threatening
the deployment of ballistic missiles on its border if the new U.S. administration
does not withdrawal from the agreements that would deploy missile defenses
in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Road to Damascus
By John Perazzo, FrontPageMagazine.com,
November 11, 2008
History will record that
Barack Obama’s first act of diplomacy as America’s president-elect took
place two days after his election victory, when he dispatched his senior
foreign-policy adviser, Robert Malley, to meet with Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—to outline for them
the forthcoming administration’s Mideast policy vis-à-vis those
nations. An aide to Malley reports, "The tenor of the messages was that
the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian
interests" than has President Bush. The Bush administration, it should
be noted, has rightly recognized Syria to be not only a chief supporter
of the al Qaeda insurgency in Iraq, but also the headquarters of the terrorist
organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the longtime sponsor of Hamas—the
terrorist army whose founding charter is irrevocably committed to the annihilation
of Israel. Yet unlike President Bush, Obama and Malley have called for
Israel to engage in peace negotiations with Syria.
this Saudi deal to help bail out Britain. It comes with a devastating IOU
By Melanie Phillips, UK
Mail Online, November 9, 2008
A week ago Gordon Brown,
accompanied by his new best friend the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson,
went cap in hand to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to ask them to help
bail out the stricken economies of the West by pumping billions into the
International Monetary Fund. It is more than a little strange that the
British Prime Minister should have apparently taken it upon himself to
speak on behalf of the IMF. But the real concern is that asking for help
from Saudi Arabia is not like tapping your friendly neighbourhood bank
manager for a bigger overdraft.
No, this loan comes with
a devastating IOU — nothing less than a big slice of control over Britain
and the West by a regime at the heart of the attempt to bring about the
Islamisation of the free world.
From Investor's Business
Daily, November 13, 2008
Foreign bank accounts controlled
by the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) were never
reported to the Internal Revenue Service or even to the charity's own auditors,
a former bookkeeper for the charity admitted Wednesday.
Mohammad Wafa Yaish worked
as a tax and accounting consultant for HLF from 1997-2001. He was called
as a defense witness to give an overview of the different projects run
by HLF and to discuss financial records.
Five former HLF officials
are accused of illegally funneling millions of dollars to Hamas through
a series of Palestinian charities called zakat committees. If HLF
was raising money for Hamas, he didn't know about it, Yaish said.
# # #
Victory of Socialism
Miller, Acton Lecture Series, July 24, 2008
With the fall of the Berlin
Wall, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the success of free markets
many believed that socialism had seen its last days. But socialism did
not die. It continues to advance in new ways. Socialist visions of man
and society dominate many of our cultural institutions, academia, media,
government, and religion. In Latin America, Europe, and even the US, proponents
of socialist ideas are gaining influence. While we celebrated the triumph
of freedom has socialism won over the culture?
Need Bankruptcy, Not Bailout
By Andrew M. Grossman, Heritage
Foundation, November 15, 2008
The U.S. auto industry is
in dire need of a shakeup. All of the Big Three are beset by plummeting
sales and market share, high labor costs, aging fleets, and a surfeit of
innovative automobiles in the pipeline. With General Motors, and perhaps
Ford after it, facing looming liquidity crises, staying the course is no
longer an option.
But rather than face facts,
the auto industry is seeking yet another government lifeline: a $25 billion
bailout on top of the billions in subsidized loans already approved by
lawmakers. While a bailout promises continued stagnation and decline, reorganization
is the only chance that automakers have to rebound and survive in the global
Birth of Freedom
Guest: Jay W. Richards
Ph.D., Acton Media, August 14, 2008
Richards talks and leads discussion about some of the themes from Acton's
new documentary, The Birth of Freedom. The film treats the contributions
of the Judeo-Christian tradition to the rise of political and economic
freedom in the West.
Freedom and Its Opposite
By Mark Thornton, Ludwig
Von Mises Institute, November 12, 2008
The only true path to reform
is monetary freedom. We have gone from a situation where money was entirely
free from government intervention to one that is completely dominated by
government. Instead of privately minted coins made from precious metals
we now have a system of government-printed paper fiat currency. We have
gone from a system of private banking that provided bank notes and checks
for demand deposits to one where banks are completely regulated by the
central bank and a host of other regulatory bodies. The idea that our current
financial mess resulted from a lack of regulation is truly laughable. Of
course this process has taken centuries to complete. By giving up our monetary
freedom—particularly over the last one hundred years—we have given government
the ability to grow in size and scope and to achieve unthinkable levels
of power. Every step forward towards government control of money has resulted
in social chaos and economic destruction. The real economy only grows in
the interludes when monetary mischief is at a minimum.
By Jonah Goldberg, National
Review, November 14, 2008
This is not to say that one
can’t be a moderate on this issue or that and be a Republican. But the
idea that social liberalism and economic conservatism can coexist easily
is not well supported by the evidence. For example, in Congress and in
state legislatures, the more pro-life you are, the more likely you are
to be a free-market, low-tax conservative. The more pro-choice you are,
the more likely it is that you will be remarkably generous with other people’s
Fuel For Palin's Pipeline
From Investor's Business
Daily, November 13, 2008
Sometimes, America lucks
out. From the Arctic, a new energy source has emerged called frozen gas.
It could cut prices and bring independence. We hope Democrats and Republicans
can work together on this.
to the middle after Goldwater. That was a mistake
Paul Gottfried, The American Conservative, November 17, 2008
first thing to be done is to abandon the failed precedent of the post-Goldwater
epoch. The course the conservative movement pursued in alliance with the
GOP after 1964 ended disastrously last week, in a spectacular victory for
the radical, multicultural Left.
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