North Archives - December 18, 2007
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and Myopic Narcissism
by John Gilligan
Veterans Day 07 in Central
Vermont will be one of great pride for me as a veteran, other veterans
and Americans. It was also an occasion of great sadness and disgust with
other entities who chose to demean it.
The long holiday began on
Friday with a Medals Ceremony at the Statehouse where Governor Douglas,
Lt. Governor Dubie, Adj. General Dubie, State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding and
several members of the legislature were present. Over 60 Vermont Veterans
and their families were there for the award of the VT Veterans and the
VT Distinguished Service medals to them or deceased loved ones. It was
a proud day for me to accept them for my deceased brother Mike and myself.
Republican Representative Valliere worked hard to get a good turnout of
Barre area Vets to be there and was complimented by Governor Douglas for
But also a shame that no
one from the Liberal left Television or Print Media could be bothered to
cover the story. Needless to say I saw no story in the Times Argus the
Then on 11 November, the
most sacred of days, the good citizens of Barre were subjected to the antics
of the Hate America First Crowd at the Aldrich Library. They had gathered
to castigate one of their anti-war heroes for stepping out of line after
winning their support in the last election. They put on a performance that
only kindergarten teacher at a school riot could love. Also present was
the Argus and TV media. Despite the Argus' attempt to spin and ameliorate
the debacle; i.e., their first report had the mob numbered at about 70.
Susan Allen jacked it to about 100 in a follow-up piece but both stories
failed to note that most in the mob were not from Barre.
Too-Timid Education Reform
By John McClaughry
Vermont really needs is a completely different K-12 educational model.
That model would give all pupils the means to choose what best meets their
needs and interests from a diverse range of educational offerings: public
schools, independent schools, faith-based schools, charter schools, virtual
schools, mentoring, home schooling, and other forms not yet even imagined.
Then there would no longer
be an overgrown "public education system", any more than there is
a "food system" or a "clothing system". Parents and students would
have more educational choices and more little schools, but most of those
schools, like today's faith-based schools, would be less expensive than
today's state-controlled, over-regulated,
over-unionized public school system.
The schools would be run
by their own boards and principals. Superintendents would exist only to
advise and assist all of these schools, and cope with indispensable special
education requirements. Athletics, music and drama programs would become
joint community efforts, like technical centers, no longer tied to individual
(Ivory) Tower of Pisa
By Martin Harris
that American industrial productivity rose 6.3 percent in the just-finished
3rd quarter contrasts fairly vividly with news that American
school-kids are now posting even worse results, compared to their international
competition, than they were in earlier years. Typically, US students score
worse than global averages in science and math, the latest PISA tests show.
Historically, the American
taxpayer has been remarkably forgiving of low productivity in the governmental
enterprises it pays for, but there are signs that, at least for education
if not for less visible programs like USDA tea-testing, public patience
is declining. Some indicators show up in what, in the private sector, would
be called market penetration. Public education is losing customers at an
increasing rate, and more would take their kids out if they weren’t forced,
at legal bayonet-point, to pay for it regardless of actual service use.
A recent poll by the St. Johnsbury Caledonian-Record finds that 26 percent
of its Vermont and New Hampshire respondents are in favor of parents paying
their own kids’ costs and, therefore, not being taxed for the costs generated
by others. That public sentiment is a pretty sharp rebuke to the "free"
public education system set up by Horace Mann a century-and-a-half ago,
which experienced no such challenge to its credibility until the recent
declines in productivity became so apparent.
# # #
In this issue – Environmental
the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse?
Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" --
Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive
Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United
massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development
means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption)
into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation."
-- Paul Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, "Population, Resources, Environment"
(W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1970, 323)
you ask me, it'd be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source
of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We
ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs,
but that won't give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we
could do mischief to the earth or to each other."
-- Amory Lovins, The Mother Earth - Plowboy Interview, Nov/Dec 1977,
society cheap, abundant energy ... would be the equivalent of giving an
idiot child a machine gun."
-- Paul Ehrlich, "An Ecologist's Perspective on Nuclear Power",
May/June 1978 issue of Federation of American Scientists Public Issue Report
can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the same industrialization,
we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where
-- Michael Oppenheimer. Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University. He joined
the Princeton faculty after more than two decades with Environmental Defense,
is a long-time participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), serving most recently as a lead author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment
already had too much economic growth in the US. Economic growth in rich
countries like ours is the disease, not the cure." --
planet is about to break out with fever, indeed it may already have, and
we [human beings] are the disease. We should be at war with ourselves and
-- Thomas Lovejoy, assistant secretary to the Smithsonian Institution.
only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation
without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest
of the natural world."
-- John Shuttleworth, FoE manual writer.
are the cause of all the problems; we have too many of them; we need to
get rid of some of them, and this (ban of DDT) is as good a way as any."
Charles Wurster, Environmental Defense Fund.
can and should seize upon the energy crisis as a good excuse and great
opportunity for making some very fundamental changes that we should be
making anyhow for other reasons." --
Russell Train (EPA Administrator at the time, and soon thereafter became
head of the World Wildlife Fund), Science 184 p. 1050, 7 June 1974
world has a cancer, and that cancer is man. -- Alan Gregg, former
longtime official of the Rockerfeller Foundation
is always and everywhere a blight on the landscape. -- John Muir,
founder of the Sierra Club
out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.--
Dave Forman, Earth First! and Sierra Club director (1995-1997)
beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs. -- John Davis,
editor of Earth First! journal
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Fix Is In
From VermontTiger.com, December
Here's an eyewitness
account of what's going on in Bali at the Climate Change Summit.
"A common theme was that
the "solutions" to climate change that are being posed by many governments,
such as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and biofuels
are false and are not rooted in justice. Another point was that as this
current ecomonic system got us here in the first place, a climate change
response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources."
Maybe this is why there's
so much opposition to Gov. Douglas's plan - because it only addresses the
issue of climate change not the real problem the left wants to fix.
Seeing the true intent of those behind the climate change industry answers
a lot of questions. For example, it explains why the people demanding
we reduce CO2 are the same people demanding we cripple Yankee (which is
low CO2) with new taxes that go directly to the underprivileged renewables;
even though the renewables have a larger environmental footprint than nukes.
Redistribution plain and simple.
road ahead for state budget
By Louis Porter, Vermont
Press Bureau, Times Argus, December 16, 2007
That's because the state,
which has become hooked on healthy revenue increases, is looking at a 2.4
percent increase in fiscal year 2009, a third less than the 3.6 percent
increase the state saw in 2007. And given the worsening housing market,
a weakening economy and higher fuel prices – all factors that will drive
up demand for state services – the revenue forecast will likely force lawmakers
to face a grim reality: There may not be enough money to go around.
After base spending, contractual
increases in pay, rising gasoline and benefits costs and apparently unavoidable
increases like Medicaid are factored in, the heads of the four "money"
committees will have very little wiggle room, let alone additional money
for new programs.
Looks In All The Wrong Places
Caledonian Record Editorial,
December 14, 2007
Here they go again. Last
year, James Moore and his organization, VPIRG, joined Vermont Senate President
Pro Tem Peter Shumlin in an effort to stick it to Entergy, the owners of
the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Although the state of
Vermont has twice committed to tax agreements with Entergy and had promised
the plant owners they wouldn't come back for more, Senator Shumlin came
back for more when he ran out of new ways to tax Vermonters to pay for
his proposed energy efficiency utility. Fortunately, Gov. Jim Douglas said
a deal's a deal and rejected the tax boost for Vermont's most valuable
This week, Moore and his
organization rolled out a new "study" and its clear VPIRG determined the
outcome of the study in advance then worked backwards to make sure the
study would justify their conclusion. The conclusion is the same old one;
that Entergy deserves to be punished for its success at generating, clean,
safe, reliable power over 90 percent of the time, with and without a prevailing
wind or even sunshine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in all the seasons
of the year. According to VPIRG, that means Vermont should renege on its
contracts with the Vernon plant and jump Yankee's taxes to pay for the
Legislature's latest green energy schemes.
Numbers Make The Case
Caledonian Record Editorial,
December 13, 2007
Gov. Jim Douglas announced
a few weeks ago that he was directing state government to reduce its work
force by 400 positions over the next 18 months. The reductions are to be
accomplished essentially through attrition. With the predictability of
thunder following lightning, the Democrats in the Legislature have started
emitting ominous rumblings that will lead to outright opposition to the
cuts. … The reaction of the Democrats was as automatic as Pavlov's dogs.
They were so conditioned to come get their food when the bell rang, that
they salivated whenever it rang, food or not. The VSEA has trained the
Democrats so well to bark when the union bell rings that Douglas' announcement
had them all barking, even when his announcement makes eminent sense and
the numbers prove it.
Here are some startling
of Employees/100 Citizens
Vermont has just under 10,000
state employees, yet its population is considerably smaller than any of
the other states cited. Do we need that many employees? Good gracious,
No! The numbers in other, larger states make it clear that we don't.
To Get Serious About Energy
Caledonian Record Editorial,
Monday, December 10, 2007
There was some good news
this week from ConocoPhillips, a major oil exploration and production company.
The company will propose the construction of a new multi-billion dollar
pipeline that would transport natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to
the lower 48 states and Canada. The company said its willing to make the
investment without state matching funds. The corporation estimates the
project could cost between $25 billion dollars and $42 billion dollars.
The danger is that while
politicians such as Vermont's U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., are proudly
announcing they've voted to strip incentives away from oil and gas companies
while approving huge new subsidies for renewable energy, the U.S. could
find itself in a dangerous position where existing real-world energy industries
such as oil, natural gas, coal and hydro decline before new sources such
as wind and solar replace them. With coal currently providing 50 percent
of the electricity in this country and the economy running on oil, like
it or not, the better policy would be to include companies like ConocoPhillips
at the table and encourage their participation in building a cleaner energy
future that is realistic, reliable, attainable and affordable.
New Tiger Prowls...
From VermontTiger.com, December
Joining the Asian and Celtic
Tigers is Israel, according to the Wall
Street Journal (probably behind their $firewall).
The country is now in...
consecutive year of strong growth, up to 5.5% in 2007...The 2,500 or so
hi-tech start-ups located in and around Tel Aviv and Haifa give the coast
the feel of Silicon Valley, only with a Gaza Strip down the road. Israelis
are now investing heavily abroad. Only the U.S. and Canada have more technology
companies listed on American exchanges than Israel."
That's from a country with only
6.5 million people, yet it has the third largest number of technology companies
listed on U.S. stock exchanges. How have they done it? With macroeconomic
and central banking reform. Israel's central bank is now run by Stanley
Fischer, a former MIT economics professor who was born in Zambia and lived
on a kibbutz as a teenager. A dose of regulatory and fiscal
reform didn't hurt, either:
Turn: Misinformation Taints Act 82
By Glenn Foster, Newport
Town School Board, December 12, 2007
Most of the negative talk
regarding Act 82 (two-vote requirement for extraordinary school budget
increases) has come from those associated with public education: union
leadership, school administrators, teachers and school board members. ...
It is interesting (if not disappointing) that those associated with educating
our children have provided misleading information regarding Act 82.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West
By Lee Harris
Review By Janet Levy,
FrontPageMagazine.com, December 13, 2007
describes the inherent conflict between Western civilization and its emphasis
on reason and individualism and Islamic societies that teach intolerance
and nurture fanaticism. Western cultures, imbued with a belief in the inevitability
of the drive for individual freedom, view as fanatic, those societies which
fail to modernize and adopt changed values. Harris posits that the West
is disadvantaged in this way because it reacts to the story of change implicit
in the history of the Muslim faith and creation of Islamic nation states.
However, tribal societies don’t necessarily embrace modernization and abandon
their zealotry, upon which their social order is based. Their fanaticism,
which includes glorification of martyrdom, thus becomes a weapon that defeats
all Western attempts to deal with tribal societies, including negotiation,
conventional warfare and punitive economic measures. So,
while Islam seeks to destroy the West’s enlightened way of life with the
fanaticism of jihad, the West sabotages itself by non-judgmentally viewing
these actions as cultural variations or efforts to procure freedom from
an imagined oppression. [emphasis added]. Harris further contends
that the West’s reliance on reason in the face of fanaticism will destroy
Sultan Knish, December 11,
The paradox of the Islamic
Jihad being waged against the West, is that it is a Jihad that is itself
parasitic on the West. It could not exist without Western money and Western
support. Without these it would quickly shrivel up and die.
Muslims Warned Against 'Victim Culture'
From The Times Online, December
"Multiculturalism has been
manipulated to entrench the right to difference, a divisive concept, at
the expense of the right to equal treatment despite difference, a unifying
concept. And the fact that cohesion is local, means Labour get it wrong
when they go in the other direction too. After years of promoting top-down
multiculturalism, Gordon Brown is now promoting top-down unity.""
Iran’s Mullahs Must Have the Bomb?
By Amil Imani
Because their very survival
depends on it; because they know how vastly unpopular they are at home;
and because they have absolutely no legitimacy to exist, and the bomb would
give them a greater freedom to obliterate the freedom-loving Iranian people
with impunity and export their brand of Islam outside Iran’s boundary with
Meeks' Cozy Relationship With Terror-Linked Organization
From Pajamas Media, December
Why is a powerful congressman
trying to pave the way for terror-linked speakers to appear on Capitol
Hill? That's the question that comes to mind following the abrupt cancellation
of the Muslim Mobilization Conference by the US House of Representatives
Sergeant-at-Arms. The event, originally scheduled for August 11, would
have taken place in the Cannon House Building Caucus Room had it not been
for the last minute discovery of the terror-linked speakers that the DC-based
and Justice Foundation had invited to participate.
However the organization
is claiming that Congressman Gregory Meeks, who initially helped organize
the event, is actively working with them to reschedule, notwithstanding
the organization's public defense of several global terrorist organizations
and two notorious cop killers. And a review of the Peace and Justice Foundation's
corporate documents shows that the group has been operating illegally for
nearly a decade without any accountability whatsoever for funds it has
raised for a wide variety of extremist causes.
Troops Are Winning
By Pete Hegseth, Washington
Times, December 11, 2007
But that was then, and this
is now; and Iraq in December 2007 is a drastically different place than
Iraq in June 2007. Overall attack levels are now at the lowest levels since
2005, monthly coalition deaths are nearing an all-time low, and violence
against Iraqi civilians has been reduced by more than 60 percent, according
to the anti-war site icasualties.org. However, the more things change
in Iraq, the more they stay the same on Capitol Hill. For the past month,
with a few off-handed exceptions, Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill
has largely refused to acknowledge success. They are stuck in the talking
points of June, and stuck on a narrative of failure.
# # #
Baby Tax Needed to Save Planet, Claims Expert
By Jen Kelly, News.com.au,
December 10, 2007
A WEST Australian medical
expert wants families to pay a $5000-plus "baby levy" at birth and an annual
carbon tax of up to $800 a child. Writing in today's Medical Journal of
Australia, Associate Professor Barry Walters said every couple with more
than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the
carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime. Professor Walters,
clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of
Western Australia and the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, called
for condoms and "greenhouse-friendly" services such as sterilisation procedures
to earn carbon credits. And he implied the Federal Government should ditch
the $4133 baby bonus and consider population controls like those in China
Warming, Antarctic Cooling?
By Dennis Avery, American
Conservative Union, Issue 97 - December 12, 2007
Point one: We’ve known for
20 years about the earth’s moderate, natural 1,500-year climate cycle,
which we discovered in the Greenland and Antarctic ice cores. The ice shows
seven previous global warmings in the past 12,000 years. Two of these—8,000
years ago and 5,000 years ago—were, for many centuries, substantially warmer
than today. The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps didn’t melt.
Point two: This can’t be
global warming. 1) The Arctic was also warm in the 1920s; the Russians
say it happens every 70 years or so. 2) The Antarctic Ice is now at a modern
high. The Antarctic has been cooling since the 1960s, according to Peter
Doran’s 2002 paper in Nature. Thanks to warming’s additional snowfall,
the East Antarctic ice cap is currently gaining about 45 billion tons of
ice per year.
Father of Postmodernism and Anti-rationalism—Part 1
By Reginald Firehammer,
according to the Public Broadcasting System, is:
A general and wide-ranging
term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction,
and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely
a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts
to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality
is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed
as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality.
For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which
claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead
focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding,
interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our
interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism
relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always
that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and
relative, rather than certain and universal.
Postmodernism is "post" because
it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the
optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth
which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the
so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that,
in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must
realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the
philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles
ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews
against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."
I chose this description
of postmodernism from PBS, because it is obviously embraced by whoever
wrote it. If I had presented a description of post modernism by someone
critical of it, the description could easily be put down as an exaggeration
or an absurdity no one could believe. For any rational objective person,
what postmodernism really promotes must seem like something out of Alice
in Wonderland. I also chose this description because it contains most
of the concepts that have their origin in David Hume, either directly or
The purpose of this article
is simply to demonstrate that all of the corrupting, anti-intellectual,
anti-Western Civilization ideas in all these streams were already in Hume.
Subsequent articles will demonstrate how those ideas came to influence
those responsible for developing and promoting those ideas and their effects
of today's society and culture.
Global Warming Just the Latest Salem Witch Hunt?
By Charles Davenport Jr.,
News-Record.com, December 9, 2007
Global warming skeptics look
on in wonder and amazement at the daily barrage of environmental doom and
gloom featured in these pages and elsewhere. How is it possible that so
many people — journalists, scientists and politicians alike — could be
so gullible? History and sociology may prove instructive.
In 1691, a phenomenon sociologists
call a "collective delusion" swept the enclave of Salem Village, Mass.
As a consequence of social paranoia, hundreds of people were accused of
practicing witchcraft, and perhaps two dozen lost their lives. Of course,
we enlightened moderns would never succumb to superstition and mass hysteria.
Or would we? According to
sociologists Robert Bartholomew and Erich Goode, collective delusions have
taken place with surprising frequency, and the phenomenon's long and shameful
history includes several episodes from the recent past. A relic of the
Dark Ages it is not. In fact, global warming could be described as a collective
delusion, a modern equivalent to the Salem witch hunt.
Change Dissenters Say They Are Demonized in Debate
(Tax) War Between the States
By Arthur Laffer & Stephen
Moore, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2007
A record eight million Americans
moved from one state to another last year. Where is everyone going, and
why? The answer has little to do with climate: California has arguably
the nicest climate of any state in the nation -- yet in this decade more
Americans have left the Golden State than entered it.
Migration patterns instead
reveal which states have the most dynamic and desirable economies, and
which are "has-been" states. The winners in this contest for the most valuable
resource on the globe -- human capital -- are generally the states with
the lowest tax, spending and regulatory burdens. The biggest losers are
almost all congregated in the Northeast and Midwest. Liberals contend that
tax rates, regulations, forced union laws and runaway government spending
don't matter when it comes to creating jobs, high incomes and a higher
quality of life. People tell us otherwise by voting with their feet.
At Christmas 2007
By Donald Devine, American
Conservative Union, Issue 97 - December 12, 2007
"U.S. Stands Alone in Its
Embrace of Religion Among Wealthy Nations." That is the title of a Pew
Research Center report on the status of worldwide religion—and no other
rich country comes close. While 59 percent of Americans say religion plays
an important role in their lives (mostly Christianity, which is adhered
to by 80%), only about half that percent say religion is important in the
second-most religiously-wealthy nation, Great Britain. As the nearby chart
shows, religion is important in many countries in South America, Asia and
Africa but only the U.S. is both religious and prosperous.
Rather than fading away as
Voltaire and the secular left predicted, this Christmas finds religion
vital in the most advanced nation, the U.S. Even the left has partially
succumbed. A string of electoral losses led Democratic campaign leaders
Rahm Emanuel and Charles Schumer to be more positive towards religion,
which revised view at least partially explained their Congressional victory
in 2006. Whereas Christmas themes almost disappeared after the left began
dominating entertainment in the 1970s, now it is impossible to avoid "It’s
a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street," much less avowedly religious
programs on Jesus, religious services and all-pervasive carols, and even
favorable treatment on the role of evangelical religion on National Public
Radio! Atheism still sells as several new books prove but it is difficult,
with only a few percent supporting it in the U.S. today.
The Wall Street Journal
Editorial, December 17, 2007
Every Democrat running for
President wants to raise taxes on "the rich," but they will have to do
something miraculous to outtax President Bush. Based on the latest available
tax data, no Administration in modern history has done more to pry tax
revenue from the wealthy. Last week the Congressional Budget Office joined
the IRS in releasing tax numbers for 2005, and part of the news is that
the richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes that year. The richest
5% paid a tad less than 60%, and the richest 10% paid 70%. ... If Democrats
really want to soak the rich, they'll keep tax rates where they are, or,
better, lower them some more.
Will Back McCain
From the Associated Press,
December 17, 2007
Connecticut senator, the
Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, will endorse the GOP presidential
candidate because of his stance against Islamic terrorism.
# # #