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True North Archives - January 6, 2009
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Featured Articles

The Moral Imperative
By Tom Wilson

A devotion to ''the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is essential in establishing both justice and reality. Now our information experts: our media, educators, and politicians, are devoted to ''the spin, the undetectable spin, and nothing but dodging the reality." There have always been masters of selective information, which, however factual, is selected to manipulate: to lie by telling some truth. A national government "of the people, by the people, for the people" has largely become a national government of, by, and for the spinners- the monied elites, the social engineers, the special interests. It has become parasitical; it does not make prosperity, but takes prosperity away. Soon it will cease to provide for the common defense; it will no longer insure domestic tranquility; it will attack inalienable rights.

The New Deal Strikes Again
By Martin Harris

The HOLC survey of New Haven housing used nationwide A, B, C, and D grades to evaluate structural condition and neighborhood quality, and these letter grades were color-coded green, blue, yellow, and red. "Not one inch of working-class neighborhood in 1913 won high praise [an A or B] from HOLC in 1937", he writes. In contrast, "Typical of the top suburban locations would be a section of Spring Glen, in Hamden, just north of the city. The HOLC report certifies the entire absence of Negroes, foreign-born, and relief families in this neighborhood of business and professional residents".   Rae continues: "One inclusion in the C grade is the lower Livingston Street neighborhood, then as now an important residential area for Yale staff, including myself at this writing…HOLC reports absolutely no black families living in any of the 11 C-grade neighborhoods…any acknowledgment of blacks in a neighborhood almost automatically placed it in category D, which put the red in redline". He goes on to describe the credit and lending implications, describing HOLC’s area D-5 of frame tenements and multi-family homes (which he idealizes in his "sidewalk republic" look-back) "this was a neighborhood which bankers should avoid like a case of syphilis…we have the government issuing a decisive signal to banks and their loan officer: this is beyond the range of acceptable risk". With credit thus shut off by the New Deal, these neighborhoods went into slow and inevitable social and structural collapse and were bulldozed for low-income housing and urban renewal in subsequent years.

Thus, it turns out that the New Deal invented through HOLC exactly the red-lining that the Carter administration sought to end with 1977 rules ordering banks to lend to non-credit-worthy applicants under the Community Reinvestment Act, which "cure" has just imploded. It’s a one-two-three-punch: first create a problem, then a "cure" and now a "cure" for the cure, for which consecutive goofs expansive government ought to be, but won’t be, blamed. As for the original New Deal invention of red-lining: Who knew?

A Panegyric to the President
By Deborah T. Bucknam

History should judge President George W. Bush as one of America’s great Presidents. His record of accomplishment in foreign policy, his grace in the face of unrivaled malevolence, his courage in the face of dreadful pressure, and his vision of a world made free are the stuff of greatness. Here is an abbreviated catalogue of his accomplishments and virtues...

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"The liberal world order will not let go of their global-warming assault on free economies until hell freezes over -- by which point, obviously, the global-warming theory will be visibly disproven." --Tony Blankley

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

Private Philanthropy Is Far Better Than Public Entitlement
From The Caledonia Record, January 3, 2009

This continuous outpouring of charity comes from the hearts of the ordinary people, and it is the right way to do it, as opposed to the entitlement programs set up by public bureaucrats and paid for with public funds. Perhaps the longest emotional distance between two points is that between anonymous public tax dollars and the recipients of their lock-step benefactions. The shortest emotional distance, on the other hand, is that between those who give from compassion and those who gratefully receive gifts that answer their needs, sometimes desperate needs.

Given our choice, we would abolish agencies like NEKCA and the entitlement programs of the state and federal governments and promote private philanthropy. The connection between givers and receivers should not be lost in the maze of anonymities within the public agencies.

Crunching Europe's Numbers
From Vermont Tiger, January 3, 2009

I make multiple business trips a year to various places in Europe, and have been doing so for many years (well over a decade).  I've learned a lot just by repeated exposure, including gaining some grasp of the difference between reality and comfortable illusions.

As everyone has probably noted, we are continually pelted with various forms of goading on this matter - that somehow "Europe" is just a much better place than the United States. This runs the gamut - from murky claims that regardless of (whatever) there is more "social justice" in Europe, all the way to flat-out claims (as noted above) that the standard of living is higher over there.

But how do these claims stack up when one looks at real numbers?

An Unsustainable Cultural Dogma
Caledonia Record Editorial, December 29, 2008

At the most recent meeting of the St. Johnsbury School Board, Superintendent Nicole Saginor, acknowledging the fact that these are tough financial times for everyone, declined even a modest increase in her salary. That is most admirable of her. It is prima facie evidence that her heart is in the right place.

Ms. Saginor's professional humility and sacrifice emphasize in stark contrast, though, the 4 percent increase in their salary scale that the teachers aren't turning down, and that emphasizes in even starker contrast the structure of teacher contracts and contract negotiations that inevitably will break the taxpayer, if they haven't already. Here's how that works.

Vermont Tax Rate Debate
From WCAX-TV, December 30, 2008

Vt. Tax Commissioner Thomas Pelham has issued his tax rate recommendations for the year, but he's urging lawmakers to reject them. Pelham says his proposal would result in a $31 million property tax increase despite a reduction in the property tax rate.

Related: Tom Pelham's letter to the legislature (pdf)

Facts, Not Fears At Vermont Yankee
Caledonia Record Editorial, December 29, 2008

This week, a consulting firm, Nuclear Safety Associates, presented the Department of Public Service a 415-page report that concludes that the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is safe to operate for many years beyond its 2012 license expiration date. Immediately, the environmental extremists and ideologues, this time led by Sen. Mark McDonald, D-Orange, attacked the report as biased and not significant. This is the bell for the next round of anti-nuclear histrionics designed to close Vermont Yankee in three years.

Bankruptcies on the Rise in Vermont
From WCAX-TV, January 2, 2009

The number of Vermonters filing for bankruptcy last year soared 43 percent, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy court in Rutland. There were 1,256 bankruptcies filed in the state in 2008, compared to 876 the year before. Chapter 7 cases led the way. Those are voluntary bankruptcies, people choosing to reorganize their finances.

Vermont Business Startups at Historic Lows
By Keagan Harsha, WCAX,  January 2, 2009

Numbers for December aren't yet in, but through November of 2008, 1,866 new businesses had opened in Vermont. Even if December's numbers match last year's December figures, that's a 12 percent decrease from 2007-- about a 27 percent decline from 5 years ago. ...In the meantime, more than 800 Vermont businesses closed their doors in 2008, though state officials believe the number is actually much higher.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

Shadow of Iran Looms Large Over Gaza
By Walid Phares, Terror Expert/FOX News Contributor, December 31, 2008

Sadly, it’s hardly the first time we’ve seen these images and tragically seven years after 9/11 they seem to connect with similar bloodshed in Mosul, Kabul and Mumbai. Even if both sides in the current Gaza conflict insist that their confrontation is at the center of the world, in reality it isn’t anymore. Car bombs and missiles in Beirut, Baghdad and Islamabad are all horrifying. There is no "top horror" anymore, even in the never- ending cycle of Gaza’s turmoil. It has all become part of the so-called "War on Terror" even though the Palestinian-Israeli quarrel is a conflict all its own. Still, why is this escalation so dramatic, why did it happen, who triggered it at this particular moment and what can we expect going forward? It’s too grandiose to claim that anyone has all the answers, but here is my take...

Iraq and Its Lessons
By Randall Hoven, American Thinker, December 28, 2008

There are two major gripes about the Iraq war.  The first is that it wasn't justified.  The second is that it was executed badly.  I have written elsewhere that military force against Saddam's Iraq was justified, based on the written law of the land, passed by large and bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and supported by both pre-war and post-war intelligence.  But all I wish to address here is the second issue: was there some way to get to the same place of "non-threat" status with Iraq, but with fewer US coalition and Iraqi civilian casualties?

Bailing Out Shariah Law
From Investor's Business Daily, December 30, 2008

In bailing out AIG, Uncle Sam may have taken on more than he bargained for, including a constitutional fight over the promotion of religion.

Are WMD Strikes "Highly Likely" or "Less Likely" Over the Next Five Years?
By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, December 29, 2008

Commenting on some aspects of the report released by the AP, I made several points in an interview to Fox News this past weekend.

Addressing the report's assertion that in the next five years America will be hit by a bio (or other WMD) attack, I advanced another focus to the analysis: that is, the intention and the identity of the perpetrators of such attacks. Indeed, over the past five years, U.S. reports concentrated on the "weapons," not on the "users." Thus, I am arguing that in the next five years we need to focus more on the "users" to project their capacity and their intentions. For example, al Qaeda and other Jihadists most likely haven't yet (to this hour) acquired such capacity inside the U.S. for the simple reason that if they had, they would have used them already. While Iran's regime and Hezbollah have access to WMDs, their decision to use them follows another strain of logic. Thus, if we project the use of such weapons over the next five years, the possibility is high.

Exclusive: over 60 per cent of Britain's Muslim schools have extremist links, says draft report
By Damian Thompson, Telegraph UK

Britain's Muslim schools have been sharply criticised in a controversial draft report commissioned by a leading think tank which suggests that over 60 per cent of them are linked to potentially dangerous Islamic fundamentalists. An early version of the report, entitled When Worlds Collide, alleges that of the 133 Muslim primary and secondary schools it surveyed, 82 (61.6 per cent) have connections or direct affiliations to fundamentalists. The 133 schools are in the private sector but supposedly subject to Ofsted inspection.

The Squeegee Men of the New World Order
Sometimes deviancy can be defined back up.
By Jonah Goldberg, National Review, January 1, 2009

After 9/11, the gloves were off. The far left beseeched the government to retaliate with, at most, a proportionate response, but no one cared. We toppled the Taliban as a warm-up act. Terrorists weren’t criminals anymore, they were enemy combatants, ineligible for the Geneva Conventions. But the war in Iraq and reports of American zeal in the war on terror have left a sour taste in our mouths. That there have been no terrorist attacks on our soil only bolsters the sense that terrorism is manageable, even banal. Barack Obama leads a counteroffensive from a legal establishment that wants to treat terrorists like any other criminals. Terrorists in Mumbai or Jeddah are little more than the squeegee men of the New World Order.

This vain legalism will run its course for a good long while, I suspect. And we will hear and then forget a lot of names before we relearn some hard lessons.

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From Elsewhere

Is Religion Necessary?
By Joseph Ashby, American Thinker, January 03, 2009

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

To understand this statement we must remember that the Founders based their philosophies on human nature. So what Adams was saying was not theological or religious but pragmatic. George Washington's words clarify Adams' belief:

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

The debate over whether this concept is anti-atheist ignores Washington's point. Which is that "reason" (the atheist's guiding light) and "experience" tell us that religion is necessary to maintain national morality; not that it's some mystic force that favors believers over non-believers.

Green Comes Clean
From Investor's Business Daily, January 02, 2009

Propaganda: The global warming alarmist in chief has unveiled the environmentalists' real objective. And no, protecting the planet is not their top concern.

Samuel Huntington’s True Vision
The fruits of tolerance need roots in the soil of culture and identity.
By Jonah Goldberg, National Review, December 31, 2008

The book was deeply, and often willfully, misunderstood and mischaracterized by those who didn’t want it to be true. But after 9/11, it largely set the terms for how we look at the world. In it, he argued that culture, religion, and tradition are not background noise, as materialists of the left and the right often argue. Rather, they constitute the drumbeat to which whole civilizations march.

This view ran counter to important constituencies. The idea that man can be reduced to homo economicus has adherents among some free-market economists, most Marxists, and others. But it’s nonsense on stilts. Most of the globe’s intractable conflicts are more clearly viewed through the prisms of culture and history than that of the green eyeshade. Tensions between India and Pakistan or Israel and the Arab world have little to do with GDP.

Continuing to Unwrap the Gift of the Governor
By John Kass, The Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2009

"OK, Kass, what are you paying Gov. Rod Blagojevich to give you material for your columns? Or is he the gift that keeps on giving?" —Sue S.??

Dear Sue: As our esteemed governor has famously said, this thing is "bleeping golden." But the Illinois political freak show is not a gift to me. I offer it nobly and without charge, as a gift to America. Because, finally, despite all the willful cheerleading of national media types who prattled cherubically about the new Camelot, Americans are finally realizing that Chicago politics is no fairy tale.

President-elect Barack Obama was not found as an infant, floating in a reed basket along the banks of the Chicago River. He is not the gentle faun, the Mr. Tumnus, of the Daley machine. Obama could have forcefully and publicly demanded that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and fellow Illinois Democrats support legislation for a special election to fill his vacated Senate seat. Obama had a responsibility to the people of Illinois to do so. But he kept his mouth shut. As always, he avoided conflict with machine political bosses, a consistent character trait stubbornly ignored by his media cheerleaders.

Funny Business in Minnesota
In which every dubious ruling seems to help Al Franken
Wall Street Journal Editorial, January 5, 2009

Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

2008, Year Of The Bailout
By Timothy P. Carney, Examiner Columnist, January 02, 2009

Not too long ago, in fact, at the beginning of 2008, the U.S. had a reputation as a free-market economy in which businesses rose and fell of their own strengths or flaws and to their own profit or loss. But 2008 changed all that. Too be more precise, the administration of President George W. Bush changed all that in 2008.

For Real Stimulus
From Investor's Business Daily, January 02, 2009

Economy: Congress is ready to ram through a half-baked stimulus package costing as much as $1 trillion. But if it's stimulus we need, why not make it effective stimulus — tax cuts, say, instead of wasteful spending?

Related: How to Make Sure the Stimulus Works

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