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True North Archives - November 04, 2008
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The Gift of the Jews
By Robert Maynard

As a non-Jewish Christian whose hobby is the study of the rise and fall of civilizations, this gross misrepresentation of the fundamental teaching of Judaism is of great interest to me. This is so not merely for religious reasons, but primarily for the reason that Jewish metaphysics and its view on the dignity of the human person is at the heart of the whole western notion of human rights in general and the view of human dignity that prompted the American Revolution. I could site numerous studies by various scholars to back up this claim, but I would like to start with a book by Thomas Cahill from his series "The Hinges of History" entitled "The Gift of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels".

Recession As Motivator for Shaping Up Government
By John McClaughry

This recession will drive home to Vermonters that for years their politicians have written checks that our economy now can't cover. Now it's time for taxpayers to force the politicians to get serious about cutting back, shaping up, and encouraging wealth-producing enterprise.

Where Have All the Leftists Gone?
By Martin Harris

If, as I’m beginning to think, the upper-income and frequently trust-funder gentry-left cohort (from the Latin cohors for the tenth part of a legion) is less interested in the usual Leftist ambitions for classless and egalitarian societies (except for those in charge, of course) and more interested in evolving a markedly two-tier society where the superior are comfortably served by the (subsidized) inferior, that set of concepts doesn’t preclude some more-typical-of-the-Left objective planks within the governance platform: Latest addition to a list already containing such things as single-payer health care is food distribution.

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"People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.  Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote -- a very different thing."
-- Walter H. Judd

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Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

A Mockery Of The Law
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 30, 2008

Why in the world were these two men, arrested again for drug dealing last week, on furlough in the first place? Between them, Dewolfe and Noyes have been convicted of 69 crimes in fewer than 20 years, many of them felonies, not counting the current felonies with which they are charged. Since Vermont has a "three strikes and you're out" law, why aren't they in prison for life, already? Is our system such a mockery that these clowns, who are hardened criminals, were able to convince judges and prison officials that they are such a minor danger that they deserve repeatedly to be put on furlough to live in the community of law-abiding citizens who are totally unaware of their malignant presence?

It must be so, because there they were living among us, doing what they know best. It's still hard to believe.

Shepard launches write-in campaign against Welch
By Lou Varricchio,, October 27, 2008

"Over the past 15 years or so, Vermonters have gotten higher taxes and a bigger more controlling government – and the result has been a harder and harder life for working people," he said. "Now our young people and middle class families are leaving in record numbers to escape our state. This is wrong, and this is what I want to change. ...

"I am hoping to help give Vermonters a way of expressing their dissatisfaction with Welch voting yes on the bailout, and likely only because he was essentially unopposed," Shepard said. "In voting for Bush's $700 billion bailout, Peter took Vermonters for granted and if at all posible Vermonters should fire him. My website is still set from last run at So Vermonters can get a feel for who I am."

Spend, Baby, Spend
From, October 31, 2008

Vermont has created the perfect politician for our times.  A Republicrat Congressperson who votes against the $700 slush fund before voting for it. The slush fund is, of course, being used to buy votes .  That much was inevitable.  There will be populist grousing about how some of the money is going to Detroit to bail out GM but that misses the point by a wide margin.  The money is going to bail out GM and the UAW and the state of Michigan.  It is being spent, in short, to grease political skids; not to shore up the economy.  Automobiles are being manufactured elsewhere in this country, by companies that are not going bankrupt and are also paying good wages.

Burlington Set to Open Magnet Schools
From WCAX-TV, October 31, 2008

Barnes Elementary school will soon make history. Come next fall, the school will be transformed into a magnet school -- the first magnet school in the country with an emphasis on sustainability.

"It includes things like social justice, civic engagement, things as simple as local foods, as recycling in the school, composting, things like that," explained Anne Tewksbury-Fry, a sustainability schools coach at Barnes Elementary.

Students at Barnes will be subjected to "project" learning. That means they'll spend a lot of time outside the classroom and in the community working on hands-on projects that incorporate the core subjects of reading, writing, math, and science.

Time For A Change
Caledonia Record Editorial, October 28, 2008

Here's some good news for Vermonters. A national company wants to add new locations in Vermont. When it seems like every week brings news of another national company leaving the state for greener pastures, there is a company eager to expand in Vermont. ...

But this is Vermont. And there's a good chance this company may give up and never come to Vermont, choosing instead to invest its money, pay its taxes and add new jobs in neighboring New York state or in New Hampshire. Why?

Because the company eager to expand in Vermont is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has been trying to obtain permits to build outside of St. Albans since 1995. St. Albans residents have twice held large rallies to show their support for the new store. St. Albans town officials support the new store as does Gov. James Douglas. The developer has agreed to spend millions in downtown St. Albans.

But, this is Vermont. Opponents of Wal-Mart have six separate appeals filed in the Vermont courts. They don't care how many people support the new store and they don't care if it is welcomed by the host community. They have vowed to pursue court battles all the way to the Supreme Court. We have seen this tactic many times. Bleed Wal-Mart until the legal costs and the costs of delays grow so high the company gives up and builds another store on the New York side of Lake Champlain or the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut River. ...

It is time for Vermonters to stand up and demand reforms to Vermont's regulatory and judicial structures that allow small "citizens' groups" with deep pockets and some high priced attorneys to frustrate a majority of Vermonters looking for jobs, and a new source of tax revenue.

More Taxpayers, Please
From, October 30, 2008

States like New Hampshire and nations like Ireland learned a fundamental economic law years ago. Lower the tax rate and they will come. I know many affluent families who live here part of the year but are residents of high-tax states like New York where their marginal income tax is eight percent or higher. If Vermont were to have an income tax rate no more than let's say four percent or five percent, a family with $350,000 in income would pay $14,000 to $17,500 in income tax to Vermont rather than $28,000 to New York.

The only thing they would have to do is to spend a few more days in Vermont and a few less in New York.  This would be a win-win. People who are already living here nearly one half of the year would be happy to save some money and generate tax revenue for our state. Since they already have homes and do not send their children to our schools, there would be very little if any burden on our towns, and the revenue would be used to further needed programs and importantly reduce the tax burden on the rest of us. And, since they will be spending more time in our state and feeling wealthier, they will spend more on food, recreation and other services that will additionally benefit the other citizens of Vermont.

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Freedom Under Fire:
The Global War on Terrorism

America Compared to What?
America’s political, social, and economic system is still by far the most resilient in the world.
By Victor Davis, National Review, October 30, 2008

Why then would America in recession still be in better shape than others? .... The United States military remains far stronger — and more battle-hardened — than the rest of the world’s armed forces combined. Rogue nations and terrorists try to take advantage of economic uncertainty, but America remains the best-defended democracy in the world.

The current financial crisis has startled America from a hypnotic trance of self-indulgence and irresponsibility. But as we return to American fundamentals, we may discover that our political, social, and economic system — despite all the current election-cycle hysteria — is still by far the most resilient in the world.

How odd that it took a financial catastrophe to remind us of that.

Obama's Mansion, Saddam's Money
by Daniel Pipes Philadelphia Bulletin, October 29, 2008

Barack Obama appears to have personally benefited from funds originating in Saddam Hussein's regime. It's a complicated connection, but one that deserves the consideration of Americans voters.

Two similar figures, Nadhmi Auchi and Antoin S. "Tony" Rezko, served as the intermediaries. Both are Middle Eastern males of Catholic Christian heritage who left Baathist dictatorships for Western cities (Auchi from Iraq to London, Rezko from Syria to Chicago). Both became successful businessmen who hobnobbed with politicians and promoted Arab interests. Both have been convicted of taking kickbacks and both stand accused of other shady dealings.

Keeping Afloat in Desperate Times
By Jack Kelly, Patriots and Liberty, October 27, 2008

Desperate times can cause desperate men to do desperate things. The global economic crisis swiftly may become a national security crisis of a magnitude we haven’t seen since World War II.

Spengler thinks the financial crisis will push already troubled — and nuclear armed — Pakistan further towards radical Islam.  Turkey, heretofore the most peaceful, democratic and pro-Western of Islamic countries, also will drift towards the dark side.

By far the most dangerous wild card is Iran. The ethnic Persians from whom the rulers come are a minority in country where most of the other minorities would rather affiliate with some other country — the Azeris with Azerbaijan, the Kurds with Iraqi Kurdistan, the Ahwaz Arabs with the Iraqi Arabs on the other side of the Shatt al Arab.  And the mullahs are unpopular with most of the ethnic Persians.

While those connected to the regime have siphoned off some $35 billion in oil revenues, most Iranians live at a subsistence level.  They are able to make ends meet only because of massive subsidies for food and fuel –  subsidies that will be trimmed or ended altogether if oil prices remain low. Unemployment and inflation exceeded 30 percent before oil prices plummeted.

The mullahs may conclude the only way to keep from being overthrown is to seize the oil resources of their neighbors in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (whose oilfields are in the predominantly Shia area along the coast).

If the mullahs regard the new U.S. President as weak and inexperienced, they may regard the rewards from such a reckless gamble to be worth the risk.

Al-Qaeda Propaganda Chief Killed in Pakistan Strike
AFP, November 1, 2008

An Egyptian Al-Qaeda operative described by the United States as the terror network's propaganda chief was killed in a missile strike in Pakistan, security officials said Saturday.

Abu Jihad al-Masri was among several rebels killed when two missiles fired by a suspected US spy drone hit a truck in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Friday night, they said.

Emerging Security Challenges for our Next President
By Douglas Farah, Family Security Matters, November 1, 2008

Whoever wins the presidency next week will face a series of international challenges from non-state actors that are being little discussed on the campaign trail and largely ignored by the media in the run up to the presidential vote. It is too bad, as the next president will likely have to spend as much time on these issues as he does the economy.

Islamic "Militants" Stone A 13-Year-Old Rape Victim
By Tom Gross, National Review, November 1, 2008

She was 13. She was gang raped. And her punishment for this "adultery" was to be stoned to death last week on the orders of an Islamic court in Somalia by dozens of men in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators.

But why does MSNBC call the perpetrators "militants" rather than murderers? And why is this story presently on several prominent websites, including Fox News, but it is nowhere to be found today on the New York Times’s website? "The paper of record"?

Her name was Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow. Let us all try not to forget it.

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From Elsewhere

The Europeanization of America
What's ahead if Obama becomes president.
By Pete Du Pont, The Wall Street Journal

These policy changes will be the beginning of the Europeanization of America. There will be many more public policy changes with similar goals—nationalized health care, Kyoto-like global-warming policies, and increased education regulation and spending.

Additional tax advantages for lower and middle income people will be enacted: a 10% mortgage tax credit that would average about $500 per household per year, a $4,000 tax credit for college tuition, a tax credit covering half of child-care expenses up to $6,000 per year, and even a $7,000 credit for purchase of a clean car.

More important, all but the clean car credit would be "refundable," meaning people will get a check for them if they owe no taxes, which is simply a transfer of income from the government to individuals. In reality this is the beginning of a new series of entitlements for middle-class families, the longer-term effect of which will be to make those families more dependant on (and so more supportive of) larger government. The Tax Policy Center estimates that these refundable tax credits would cost the government $648 billion over 10 years.

These are Mr. Obama's plans. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats would increase spending for their own interests and favorite programs. More important, the Congress will consider itself more important than a freshman president who has never held an executive position, so they will do what they want and he will have to go along with most of it.

RAHN: You Lose, Soros Wins
By Richard Rahn, The Washington Times, October 24, 2008

Have you ever wondered why billionaires like George Soros financially support politicians who say they will "increase taxes on the rich"?

The answer quite simply is that the tax increases are most often put on people trying to become rich, not those already rich. Hence, the rich, big government advocates can gain far more by "buying" the politicians. The "bought" politicians then provide them with confidential information about administrative decisions, which these donors then use to place big bets in the market, making themselves much richer. If you have deep financial pockets and inside information, you can make huge amounts of money when markets drop.

Spreading the Wealth and Killing the Goose
By Gregory V. Helvering, American Thinker, October 31, 2008

So after the Bush tax cuts the burden the "rich" bear is significantly up and the burden on the rest of society is dramatically down.  That's great news, right?

Well, no -- not if your goal is "redistributive change" (and if you don't think the courts, shackled as they are by their "interpretation" of the rights in the Constitution, can do it for you).  If the change you believe in is "redistributive change," increasing the burden of government borne by the rich is nice, but it does not get you where you really want to go.

Robin Hood was not upset at the relative costs among the citizenry of supporting the Sheriff of Nottingham.  He did not think the rich should bear a greater burden in helping the Sheriff create an ordered society.  He wanted the money for his chosen beneficiaries, not for the government.  He didn't want tax increases on the rich; he wanted their income.

Is a Split in the GOP Inevitable?
By Deal W. Hudson,, October 30, 2008

While Palin made religious conservatives comfortable with McCain, the leaks coming out of the McCain camp about Palin betray their discomfort with religious conservatives. Furthermore, they portend a power struggle within the party between the religious conservatives and party "moderates."

The base of the party will not accept anything less than leadership committed to social issues and someone who will embrace, rather than tolerate, their presence. Without that leadership, these voters who have been the backbone of the GOP since the early 1980s will look for other avenues to fight the culture wars over the protection of life and the family. ...

The GOP leaders who control the RNC would do well to study the Palin phenomenon. They need to create a relationship with those who stood and cheered the night the Alaska governor was nominated.

Global Cooling is Here!  (.doc)
Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling for the Next Three Decades
By Don J. Easterbrook, Dept. of Geology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

Despite no global warming in 10 years and recording setting cold in 2007-2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) and computer modelers who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming still predict the Earth is in store for catastrophic warming in this century. IPCC computer models have predicted global warming of 1° F per decade and 5-6° C (10-11° F) by 2100 (Fig. 1), which would cause global catastrophe with ramifications for human life, natural habitat, energy and water resources, and food production. All of this is predicated on the assumption that global warming is caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 and that CO2 will continue to rise rapidly.

However, records of past climate changes suggest an altogether different scenario for the 21st century. Rather than drastic global warming at a rate of 0.5 ° C (1° F) per decade, historic records of past natural cycles suggest global cooling for the first several decades of the 21st century to about 2030, followed by global warming from about 2030 to about 2060, and renewed global cooling from 2060 to 2090 (Easterbrook, D.J., 2005, 2006a, b, 2007, 2008a, b); Easterbrook and Kovanen, 2000, 2001). Climatic fluctuations over the past several hundred years suggest ~30 year climatic cycles of global warming and cooling, on a general rising trend from the Little Ice Age.

The Markets Are Weak Because the Candidates Are Lousy
The good news is that an Obama victory is already priced in
By George Newman, The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2008

A lot has been said about the causes of the drastic drops -- and extreme volatility -- in stock prices and the impending recession. Blame has been heaped on low interest rates and dubious mortgage practices, and on the subsequent collapse of real-estate prices and the freeze in financial markets. But one other major factor has largely escaped attention.

To state the obvious: The valuation of an individual stock reflects the collective expectation of investors about a company's future profits, dividends and appreciation, and the same is true of the market as a whole. These profits, in turn, are greatly influenced by government policy on taxes, spending, subsidies, environmental and other regulations, labor laws, and the corporate legal climate. Investors have heard enough from both candidates in the last month or two to conclude that prospects for a flourishing, competitive, growing and reasonably free economy in a McCain administration are bad, and in an Obama administration far worse. (In fact, the market's bearish behavior over the last couple of months pretty closely tracks Barack Obama's gains.)

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