North Archives - December 22, 2009
| Editorial | News & Views
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By Rob Roper
was equally outrageous to read in the December 16, 2009, Wall Street
about it here) that Vermont’s senator Patrick Leahy, along with
four other senators, similarly exploited taxpayer funds to treat himself
and his wife to a trip to England. According to the story, Leahy spent
four days on our dime at the Danesfield House Hotel & Spa at $340-a-night.
The state business Leahy was supposedly tending to in order to justify
this junket included a riverboat trip down the Themes and a private tour
of Windsor Castle.
By Mark Shepard
is creative and desires to express that creativity. True faith cannot
be forced upon someone. Vast power (control of resources) invites
corruption, whether in business, politics, government, or religion.
Left unbounded by inner moral guides or external militant guides, people
and cultures self-destruct. Incredible transformation and healing
does result when people bond with their Creator. Indeed these human
experiences align with the Biblical presentation of humanity.
Ideas do have consequences.
Ideas that ring true with life experience yield better results for us individually
and for cultures. This Christmas, consider investigating genuine
Biblical Christianity directly from its source document and resting your
future in ideas that ring true and truly transform.
French Disease, Redux
By Martin Harris
the article itself, authors Fred and Harry Siegel recite the stats: "the
average City worker receives $107K/year in salary and benefits, while the
median annual salary for New York families is $50K". That’s a remarkable
but unmentioned parallel to the Vermont situation deplored by the Rutland
Herald in a 17 November editorial entitled "The Ruling Class?". Nor do
the authors recite the Gallic-reference source, a series of Wall Street
Journal articles and commentary, years ago, which described French governance
as dominated by the abnormally large numbers of government employees and
income-re-distribution recipients, and called the phenomenon "the French
Disease". Vermont, with a ratio of government employees-to-total-population
which is usually #1 or 2 in an all-State ranking in year-to-year studies,
can legitimately be similarly labeled, something your scribe has occasionally
done in this space, always identified as "redux" (a little press-room Latin
# # #
Week’s Mail Bag
ClimateGate: Worse Than
When I sent out a commentary
last Friday on ClimateGate, I realized that I might be creeping out
on a limb. New information could come to light to undermine my view. So
I have watched this unfold for a week now - and it turns out I had only
the tip of a large iceberg of scientific fraud.
is a link to a Pajamas Media item by meteorologist Joe D'Aleo, former
professor of meteorology at Lyndon State, that plunges into the miasma
of fraudulent data manipulation by the global warming fraternity.
I know something of this
history of science, and the only (barely) comparable fraud I can recall
was Trofim Lysenko's Stalinist genetics.
I hope your newspaper (especially
the Sunday Times Argus) will solicit some commentary from Vermont's most
ardent global warming shouters.
Chief among them is Alan
Betts of Pittsford, who has a PhD in climatology or some such.
Then there's Prof. Jonathan
Isham of Middlebury, an environmental economics Ph.D., who got his students
to confer a "flat earth award" on anyone who disagreed with people now
known to be purveying fraudulent data.
Then there is of course BIll
McKibben oif Middlebury, who does not have any scientific credentials,
but has vaulted to fame and fortune propagandizing this phony stuff.
Then there's VPIRG (James
Moore), who has been hyping the panic to persuade legislators to vote sweeping
taxes, subsidies, and regulations to stave of the Menace of Global Warming.
Last but not least is the
foremost of those legislators, Sen Peter Shumlin, who I call the Senator
from VPIRG, who wants to be Governor.
I can't wait to hear their
excuses and explanations, and I'm sure your readers will be interested.
Ethan Allen Institute
4836 Kirby Mountain Rd.
Concord VT 05824
* * *
"Though 'none 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 Allen "Reason: The
Only Oracle Of Man A Compendious System Of Natural Religion" Chapter I
Section I - Of Reforming Mankind from Superstition and Error, and the Good
Consequences of it.
# # #
Weekly News Round-Up
Democrat Seeks to Undo Increase on Capital Gains
By Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont
Press Bureau, Times Argus, December 14, 2009
At least one Democrat in
the Vermont Senate wants to undo the increase in capital-gains taxes that
leaders of her own party championed earlier this year.
Increasing taxes on capital
gains – income accrued through investments as opposed to wages – according
to Chittenden County Senator Hinda Miller, will have a chilling effect
on the entrepreneurial start-ups she says are needed to revitalize the
Illuzzi Pursuing Fetal Justice
Caledonia Record Editorial,
December 19, 2009
A few weeks ago, Sen. Richard
Sears, D-Bennington, listened to a plea for justice from a woman whose
twin fetuses were killed by a drunken driver, only to find out that her
fetuses had no rights. The perpetrator went free from any charges for those
deaths. Senator Sears promised to introduce a bill that would give specific
rights to fetuses, thus making it a crime to harm or kill them. Alas, Senator
Sears' lobbyist friends, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, jumped him, and
Sears lost his courage. He backed out by introducing a bill that, far from
giving rights to fetal babies, refers only to "injuries to a pregnant woman."
At the time, we applauded
Senator Sears' courage in the face of the intense pressure that he could
expect from the abortion industry. We don't applaud him anymore. His substitute
bill is a cop out born of political cowardice.
All may be well, though.
Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans, stepped into the breach and is introducing
a bill that will do what Sears backed away from, i.e. protect parentally
chosen fetuses with rights. He plans a bill that would recognize a fetus
as a victim under certain criminal statutes. Senator Illuzzi has tried
in years past to get such a bill passed, but the pro-choice crowd has ignored
The Numbers: Public K-12 Spending, Enrollment
From Vermont Tiger, December
here Vermont Tiger readers (and their friends and their
friends’ friends) are urged to engage in disciplining their school districts’
budgets and in motivating their elected representatives in Montpelier to
fundamentally and cost-effectively transform Vermont K-12’s anachronistic
We get what we vote for –
both locally and in Montpelier – and the solution begins with us.
Schools Could Share More
By Brent Curtis, Rutland
Herald, December 18, 2009
A state auditor's report
released Thursday shows that there's room to share in Vermont's school
Based on evidence derived
from surveys from 49 of the state's 60 superintendents, the auditor's report
indicated that 55 percent of respondents believed they could be sharing
more services such as transportation, food service and special education
Vermont Cut Number of School Districts?
From WCAX, December 15,
From Burlington to Bennington
to Brattleboro, nearly every Vermont town has a school district. A plan
before the Vermont Board of Education would change that, reducing the number
of districts in the state from 290 to less than two dozen....
"The larger your school and
the further away it, becomes the greater the risk you run of alienating
students and alienating the community," said Bill Mathis, a former superintendent
who opposes the plan.
Consolidation: Money, Democracy and Community
Live in Different Worlds
By Art Woolf, Vermont Tiger,
December 17, 2009
More importantly, he said
that he believed that the U.S. will have a government run health care system
Congress has the "courage" to stand up to those who "profit off human sickness."
Profit, far from being the
equivalent of a four-letter word, is what gives us the standard of living
that we enjoy.
In a You
Tube video, Milton Friedman has a nice discussion of the
moral issues involved with an articulate student.
# # #
Global War on Terrorism
Bad News: Iran Now Has Solid-Fuel Missiles
By Jesus Diaz Gizmodo, December
This is really scary news:
Iran has successfully tested their Sajjil-2 yesterday. Why is this really
scary? Because it is a two-stage solid fuel missile, which represents a
giant leap in reaching the continental United States. Here's
Iran already has the Shahab-
3, which is capable of reaching Israel and parts of Europe,
like the Sajjil-2. But the Shahab-3 uses liquid fuel, which means two things:
First, they have to be fueled before launch, something that can be detected
by spy satellites, so potential targets can take appropriate countermeasures.
Second, the liquid fuel is highly corrosive, greatly affecting the accuracy
of the missile by destabilizing it.
The Sajjil-2—which is designed
to be a weapon payload carrier, not a peaceful space rocket—uses the same
kind of solid fuel technology that the United States uses in the Minuteman
III intercontinental ballistic missile. That means that they can be perfectly
accurate, like the Minuteman III is. But more importantly, these missiles
can be safely stored and launched with no preparation or warning.
Forced out of Pakistan's Tribal Havens form Smaller Cells in Heart of Nation
Witte and Joby Warrick, Washington Post Foreign Service, December
Militants forced to flee
their havens in Pakistan's
mountainous tribal areas are establishing new, smaller cells in the heart
of the country and have begun carrying out attacks nationwide, U.S. and
Pakistani officials say.
The spread of fighters is
an unintended consequence of a relatively successful effort by the United
States and Pakistan to disrupt the insurgents' operations, through missile
strikes launched by unmanned CIA aircraft and a ground offensive carried
out this fall in South Waziristan by the Pakistani army.
Launched Missile Strikes on Al Qaeda in Yemen, Sources Say
From Fox News, December
The U.S. has launched two
missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen, two U.S. officials told
Fox News, signaling an escalation of the Obama administration's fight against
the terrorist organization.
The politically sensitive
strikes Thursday, first reported by ABC News, supplement efforts already
under way by the government of Yemen to go after Al Qaeda in the country,
the officials told Fox News, speaking on condition of anonymity due to
the sensitivity of the operation.
Muslim Brotherhood: Islam, Anti-Semitism and Totalitarianism (Part
Two of Four)
By Adrian Morgan, Family
Security Matters, December 11, 2009
One, I briefly mentioned veteran Muslim Brotherhood member Youssef
Nada and the essay entitled "The Project." The document was discovered
in Nada's villa in Campione d'Italia while it was being searched on November
7, 2001. On the same day, Nada was designated
as a terrorist under US Executive Order 13224. Nada's home was being searched
because the Al-Taqwa bank, which he co-founded in 1988, was said
to have been used to finance terrorism.
While Swiss police were examining
the items in Youssef Nada's home, President George W. Bush declared:
"Al-Taqwa is an association of offshore banks and financial management
firms that have helped al-Qaida shift money around the world." Two days
later, Youssef Nada would also be designated as a terrorist by the UN.
Troops Occupy Oil Field in Iraq, Stoking Tension
Chip Cummins and Hassan Hafidh, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2009
Iraqi officials said Friday
that Iranian troops are occupying part of a disputed oil field along the
two countries' border, stirring concerns about an escalation in tensions
between Baghdad and Tehran.
Iraqi government spokesman
Ali al-Dabbagh confirmed Iranian troops had seized Well No. 4 in the al-Fakkah
Mr. Dabbagh said Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki chaired a meeting of the national Security Council
Friday to discuss the incident.
Troops Leave Disputed Iraq Oil Field After 'Violation'
Of Allah Or Of America: Does Military Know — Or Care?
By Paul Sperry, Investor’s
Business Daily, December 15, 2009
The Pentagon has launched
a 45-day probe into the Fort Hood massacre, promising to find answers to
why it happened and how it can be prevented from happening again. But the
investigation may prove an exercise in futility, judging from PC remarks
by military brass....
The breakdown in security
stems from "fears over offending a member of a religious minority," finds
a report by the Westminster Institute, a security think tank. So worried
about conveying any notion that it's at war with Islam, the Defense Department
has deluded itself into believing that the enemy is bereft of religious
Though the enemy clearly
states that it's waging "jihad," or holy war, against us, it's now taboo
to use the term because it risks reinforcing the idea that the U.S. is
at war with Islam itself.
# # #
Where Justice and Freedom Coexist
By Louie Verrecchio, Catholic
Exchange, December 17, 2009
What is the Catholic social
justice principle known as "subsidiarity"?
If you’re an American and
you’re unfamiliar with subsidiarity in this day and age in which the federal
government is about the only segment of the economy that’s growing; you
better find out in a hurry.
In a nutshell, the principle
of subsidiarity states that matters impacting the human person should be
addressed by the smallest, least centralized, most localized, competent
authority possible. The opposite situation is realized when personal affairs
are managed by larger; more centralized and detached
At the heart of the matter
lies a concern for the protection of individual freedom as an inalienable
right associated with human dignity, and a prime example of how crucial
it is to understand subsidiarity (and to demand that it be duly observed)
is staring Americans directly in the face as I write.
Recession Is Over--No Thanks To Stimulus
By Brian S. Wesbury and
Robert Stein, Forbes, December 15, 2009
Back in the 1981-82 recession,
the economy shrank at a 1.6% annual rate for a year and a half. Yet after
the Reagan tax cuts took hold, the economy rebounded at a 7.7% annual rate
for a year and a half. This time around, the economy contracted at a 2.5%
rate for 18 months and is set to rebound at a 4 to 4.5% annual rate. Bigger
busts are supposed to lead to bigger recoveries, not smaller ones. But
this time, because government spent like crazy, the economy is less dynamic,
less robust and less efficient. Summers may be right about the recovery,
but he is wrong about the need for more stimulus.
Suicide Pact: Health Care Predictions
From Neoavatara, December
In the early morning hours
of December 21st, Democrats in the Senate guaranteed their own political
Now that the Democrats have
done what Democrats do, and bribe and cajole people to sign on to a useless
bill in the name of political gain only, the question is what happens next.
Minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy to delay and deter the
Democrats ultimately appears to be a failure. No surprise there,
with the 60 vote majority in existence.
But what next? Here
are my near and long term predictions...
Nobody Believes In
By the Editors, National
Review, December 19, 2009
President Obama could have
given the global environmentalist
movement the crippling deal it wants — a binding commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas
emissions and a financial commitment to help developing countries do the
same. And to be sure, he put these things on the table. But he conditioned
them upon receiving binding and verifiable promises to cut emissions from
the developing world, which were not forthcoming. Given the circumstances,
he had little choice but to do the responsible thing and punt.??
Let’s not give him too much
here. In the absence of those commitments, there wasn’t much he could credibly
offer. In 1997, the Senate passed a resolution 95-0 stating that it would
not ratify any treaty that forced the U.S. to cut emissions while allowing
rapidly growing poor countries, such as China and India, limitless freedom
to increase theirs. Times have changed, but the Senate is still reluctant
to hamstring the American economy for no good reason, as evidenced by the
Democrats’ inability to move a cap-and-trade bill this year.
Debt Must Be Stopped Now
From Investor’s Business
Daily, December 15, 2009
Fiscal Errors: The
U.S. government's unprecedented spending splurge, with no end in sight,
is creating a mountain of debt that endangers both our economy and way
of life. Can something be done about it?
Anyone who reads IBD knows
we're not doomsayers. Sometimes, in fact, we've been chided for cockeyed
optimism in the face of even the gloomiest prognostications. Our faith
in America's resilient economy, the world's largest and most creative,
and in the productive people who make it go, was reason enough.
That said, we face a rather
stark fact today: The current path for U.S. debt is unsustainable.
Gun" CBO Memo Exposes Effort to Hide Cost of Obamacare
By Philip Klein, American
Spectator, December 16, 2009
Cato's Michael Cannon has
been arguing for months that Congressional Budget Office estimates have
not been measuring the full price tag of Obamacare, because they aren't
taking into account the private sector costs of components such as the
insurance coverage mandate. Back in 1994, the CBO did include such costs
in its estimates of the Clinton proposal -- and such provisions accounted
for 60 percent of the total cost of the legislation.
Today, Cannon points
to a CBO memo that was released with little fanfare over the weekend,
and calls it the "smoking gun" showing that there has been a concerted
effort among Democrats to make sure the CBO does not start taking into
account the cost of mandates and new regulations.
The memo concerned a proposal
by Sen. Jay Rockefeller -- reportedly part of the now defenct Medicare
expansion "deal" reached last week -- that would require insurance companies
to spend 90 of the money collected in premiums on medical claims. Their
conclusion was: "In CBO's view, this further expansion of the federal government's
role in the health insurance market would make such insurance an essentially
governmental program, so that all payments related to health insurance
policies should be recorded as cash flows in the federal budget."
Newspaper Slams the Copenhagen Summit over Population Control, "Nihilism"
From Life Site News, December
In a front-page commentary
in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano yesterday, the President
of the Vatican Bank took the Copenhagen summit to task over its "nihilism,"
and consequent emphasis on population control and de-industrialization.
"Nihilistic thought, with
its rejection of any objective truth and values causes serious damage when
applied to economics," wrote Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. He recalled as
an example the "disastrous consequences" of Malthus' argument that population
growth causes poverty, as well as the theory that the economy is morally
autonomous, which he said has led to an "overly consumerist and materialistic"
However, he said that, when
applied to environmental issues, nihilism produces "even more serious damage."
In this case it leads to the attempt "to solve climate problems - where
much confusion reigns - through lowering the birth rate and de-industrialization,
rather than through the promotion of values that lead the individual to
his original dignity."
A Scandal for Journalism, Too
By Rich Noyes, Media Research
Center, December, 2009
For more than a decade, the
broadcast networks refused to acknowledge scientific skeptics of the Left's
global warming alarmism. By indulging their desire to be environmental
activists, journalists failed to hold both sides of the debate accountable.
If reporters had maintained an unbiased approach to global warming, they
conceivably could have uncovered Climategate years ago.
# # #