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True North Archives - December 02, 2008
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Why We Got Obama
By Ruth Dwyer

Two months ago I confidently predicted that John McCain and Sarah Palin would win the election, and they would have if the stock market didn’t fall when it did. The media insists that Obama’s win reflects America’s sense of hope. I wish that were true, but it’s not. People succumbed to fear – but for their own pocket books this time, not their nation’s security.
A Cat May Look at a Queen
By Martin Harris

The social-engineering design calls for two low-SES schools to become "magnet schools" with present attendance areas reduced, so that " [all] students from the walk zone and wealthy students from anywhere in the city" can enroll, the local media report. Note that the plan is voluntary, for now. I’d guess that’s because of the history of earlier racial-integration magnet-school proposals, such as Kansas City, which started out on a voluntary basis, failed to attract middle-class students (white or black), became mandatory, and then simply accelerated not only middle-class white out-migration but middle-class black out-migration as well. The "root cause", I’d suggest in rejecting Miss Noonan’s "Class, Color, and Condition" identifiers, is behavior. Most middle-class parents don’t want their kids exposed to the kinds of diversity-in-behavior they’d most likely experience first-hand, statistical probabilities predict, as a cultural minority in a predominantly under-class school environment. As the Kansas City example showed, even such "magnets" as planetaria, swimming pools, and college-level courses were insufficiently attractive to overcome middle-class unpleasant-behavior-aversion. But behavior wasn’t on Miss Noonan’s alliterative list of identifiers. It should have been. 

The Only Tax That Needs to Be Raised
By John McClaughry

Here are just a few eye openers from data produced by using the objective Federal highway condition standards:

  • Twelve hundred long (over 20 foot) bridges on the state and interstate systems are past the age at which preventive rehabilitation will reliably extend their useful life. 
  • Five hundred of these are classified "structurally deficient". 
  • Three hundred sixty nine of these bridges are over 50 years old. 
  • The present fraction of pavement rated "very poor" (21%) will increase to 49% in just four years. 
  • One third of highway pavement surfaces are rated "poor", and the fraction will continue to grow if the present level of maintenance spending is not increased.
  • …The mainstays of state highway finance – motor fuel taxes – have remained at the present rates since 1997. In 2003 the legislature diverted one third of the 6% motor vehicle purchase and use tax, now running around $20 million a year, from the Transportation Fund into the Education Fund to pay for property tax relief.

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    "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."   -- Alexander Tyler

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    Vermont Weekly News Round-Up

    Upside Down Logic To Justify Far Left Action
    Caledonia Record Editorial, November 24, 2008

    The buzz in the local and national press, even on national television, is reaction to the school board and administration of Woodbury, Vt., in their action of banning the Pledge of Allegiance from the classrooms of the school and exiling those who wish to recite it at the beginning of each day to the second floor and the leadership of a sixth grader. The board and administration did this in the transparently upside down rationale of protecting the occasional kid who doesn't want to recite the Pledge from being bullied by those who do. Reasonable people would not have punished by exile those who wish to recite the Pledge. That has been the traditional opening of the school day for more than a century.

    First, We Raise Taxes
    From Vermont Tiger, November 28, 2008

    When one hears these arguments for counter-cyclical action by government to stimulate the economy, one wonders where the people making them were during the good times when Montpelier was so determined to spend every marginal dime that it passed "waterfall" spending bills to make sure that nothing was returned to the taxpayers. 

    Good times or bad, their answer is always – raise taxes.  Question is ... what is the question?  More – much more – on that during the coming months.

    Closing VY Could Raise Power Costs
    By Bob Audette, Reformer Staff, November 26

    Replacing the energy supplied by Vermont Yankee with 100 percent renewable energy sources could cost Vermont more than $1.2 billion, according to a consultant retained by the state to evaluate the alternatives to continued operation of the nuclear power plant in Vernon.

    Corporate World Alice in Wonderland
    Caledonia Record Editorial, November 29, 2008

    The way the CEOs and their corporate employers are behaving since their economic meltdowns is reversing the usual observation that art imitates life into life imitates art. These real world clowns are behaving like Alices in Wonderland. Here are some absolutely contrary-to-common-sense decisions that they have made AFTER THE BAILOUTS.

    When Good News Is Mediocre News
    From Vermont Tiger, November 24, 2008

    The Vermont Department of Labor recently released the latest job numbers in VT, showing that while unemployment was unchanged at 5.2%, total job counts were slightly up in October.  Unfortunately, the industries that showed  the most gains were as follows....

    Get Down To The Real Business
    Caledonia Record Editorial, November 26, 2008

    Vermont's tax structure relies more and more on high income earners.  40% of the state's income tax is paid by about 7,000 taxpayers who earn over $200,000 and 60% comes from the 30,000 taxpayers who earn over $100,000.  When they do well (as they did from 2003-2006), the state coffers bulged.  Now that capital gains income and subchapter S income are in the tank, we're riding the downward trajectory of rich people's income.   Having a narrow tax base is very dangerous, as we're now seeing. 

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    Freedom Under Fire:
    The Global War on Terrorism

    Shadow World: Resurgent Russia, The Global New Left, and Radical Islam
    By Janet Levy, American Thinker, November 28, 2008

    The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 is viewed by the West as the end of the Cold War and the death knell for Communism. In reality, Communists continued to push for the same ultimate goal -- creating a socialist world order -- but their violent Marxist-Leninist revolutionary tactics were supplanted by an insidious cultural Marxism. Today, that push has evolved into a Moscow-led,  global strategic quadrangle consisting of Russia, China, Iran and a collection of Latin American dictatorships.

    The West is also threatened by a fifth column of global, radical Leftists with ideological connections to Russia and the theo-political-legal ideology of radical Islam. All of these antagonists, including the Russians, cultural Marxists and Salafists/Wahhabists, employ terrorist tactics but largely conceal their agendas. They use clandestine strategies of propaganda, disinformation, subversion and denial through their agents of influence and networks of organizations.

    A Brave New World Awaits
    By David Isenberg, Asia Times, November 25, 2008

    Among the report's "relative certainties" is that "a global multipolar system is emerging with the rise of China, India and others." Similarly, among the key "uncertainties" are:

    • Whether advances toward democracy occur in China and Russia.
    • Whether regional fears about a nuclear-armed Iran trigger an arms race and greater militarization.
    • Whether the greater Middle East becomes more stable, especially whether Iraq stabilizes, and whether the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved peacefully.
    • Whether Europe and Japan overcome economic and social challenges caused or compounded by demography.
    If the report is correct, the world finds itself in the midst of a transition to a place where the political and economic structure will be markedly different. The report finds that the "international system - as constructed following World War II - will be almost unrecognizable by 2025, owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East, and the growing influence of non-state actors. By 2025, the international system will be a global multipolar one with gaps

    Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Resumes
    By John F. Cullinan, National Review, November 24, 2008

    This month’s much-anticipated, high-level Catholic-Muslim forum at the Vatican brings to mind a 2003 encounter between my longtime friend and colleague, Nina Shea, a frequent National Review Online contributor, and Faisal Ahmed Shinwari, then-chief justice of Afghanistan’s brand-new supreme court (see here and here on their meeting).

    Shinwari cheerfully advised Shea, visiting post-Taliban Kabul in her official capacity with the U.S government’s independent Commission on International Religious Freedom, that Afghanistan’s new judiciary would embrace the full range of universally recognized international human rights — except, of course, for freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and women’s rights.

    Five years later, nothing has changed.

    A Fire in the Dome of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 26
    From Strategic Forecasters, December, 2008

    If the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Islamist militants as it appears, the Indian government will have little choice, politically speaking, but to blame them on Pakistan. That will in turn spark a crisis between the two nuclear rivals that will draw the United States into the fray.

    Are We at War or Prosecuting Criminals?
    By Dr. Walid Phares, Family Security Matters, November 28, 2008

    What these legal developments tell us is that the United States’ counterterrorism campaign is squeezed between two worlds: On the one hand, our nation’s leaders have been acting as if we are in a state of war with an enemy; and on another hand the Judicial system is telling us that it is basing its rulings solely on criminal law.

    Russia's Challenge On The High Seas
    From Investor's Business Daily, November 25, 2008

    As Russian warships steam into Venezuelan waters, the show is dismissed by some as rust-bucket bravado. But for all its navy's flaws, Russia's maneuvers herald challenges to the U.S. — and not just in Venezuela.

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    From Elsewhere

    Who’s to Blame for Chubby Children?
    By Anthony B. Bradley, The Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, November 26, 2008

    Are America’s children overweight because of advertising? A new study suggests that banning fast-food ads would reduce the number of overweight children ages 3 to 11 by 18 percent and would reduce the number of overweight adolescents ages 12 to 18 by 14 percent. However, common sense -- something often missing from research reports and very underrated in America today -- reminds us that the single most important variable in child obesity is parenting.

    There was a time in history when children would ask for things that they neither had the maturity nor the discernment to resist and their parents would simply say, "no." This new study tells us more about the deterioration of the American family than the likely effectiveness of advertising censorship. Can we just be honest? Television commercials do not make kids fat but parents surely can. (I leave aside the question of genetic predisposition to obesity, and mean to imply no blame to those who are blameless.) Children learn good or bad eating habits actively, through parental oversight, or passively, through parental neglect.

    ‘Planet Has Cooled Since Bush Took Office’ – Scientists Continue Dissenting – Gore Admits 'I've failed badly' - Global Sea Ice GROWS! Global Warming Theory has ‘failed consistently and dramatically’
    By Marc Morano, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, November 20, 2008

    The bad news for global warming alarmists just keeps rolling in. Below is a very small sampling of very inconvenient developments for Gore, the United Nations, and the mainstream media. Peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute climate fears. The majority of data presented below is from just the past few weeks.  Also see: U.S. Senate Minority Report: "Over 400 Prominent Scientists (and rapidly growing) Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007"  & Consensus’ On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008   - July 18, 2008 & An August 2007 report detailed how proponents of man-made global warming fears enjoy a monumental funding advantage over skeptical scientists. Link here. 

    Celente Predicts Revolution, Food Riots, Tax Rebellions By 2012
    By Paul Joseph Watson, The National Expositor, November, 2008

    The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions - all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

    Making the World Safe for Marxism
    By Randall Hoven, American Thinker, November 28, 2008

    I thought communism was defeated when the Berlin Wall came down.  I'm now thinking the Wall falling was the equivalent of treating Snowden's leg.  We did not defeat communism at all.

    It is almost commonplace to accuse someone of being like Hitler or acting Nazi-like.  (Googling "bush hitler" yields 1,300,000 hits, for example.)  Yet you are considered beyond the pale, and possibly insane, to even suggest that someone might harbor Marxist sympathies.  To question someone's dedication to traditional American or merely Western ideals = calling him communist = being Joe McCarthy = we now know you're nuts.

    Buyer's Remorse on the Left
    By Janice Shaw Crouse, American Thinker, November 26, 2008

    One after another, we are learning the names of the future Obama Administration. Behold, they are not new faces, nor are they the change agents that Obama's campaign rhetoric promised. Instead, we are seeing Clinton retreads and a surprising move toward the political center. Rather than the far left team of new faces and new politics that the President-elect's supporters dreamed about when they cast their ballots for the "change" they could believe in, we are seeing familiar faces and experienced pols. More than a few Obama fans are experiencing buyer's remorse as they discover that "The One" seems to be abandoning them and their policies. ...

    While Obama is filling top slots of his Administration with politicians from the center, his agenda will be thrust forward by the Schedule C minions in the lower levels of government who will be able to work under the radar to push his far left ideology.  That is the bottom-up strategy that he learned as a community organizer and a strategy that links him with his primary season competitor, Hillary Clinton, who promoted the feminist goals of the Beijing Platform for Action through various task forces set up in the federal agencies following the U.N.'s Beijing World Conference on Women. Both of these leftist politicians have learned to speak the language of the masses while working behind the scenes on the policies of the radical true believers.

    Sarah Palin to stump with Sen. Saxby Chambliss
    By Shannon McCaffrey, Associated Press, November 26, 2008

    Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss is calling in a closer: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will join him for four rallies across the state on the eve of his hotly contested Dec. 2 runoff. It will mark her return to the campaign trail after her bid as John McCain's vice presidential candidate and a chance to show off some political muscle in a state that backed her GOP ticket with 52 percent of the vote.

    Messing With Malpractice Reform
    Tort lawyers in Illinois try an end run around the voters
    Wall Street Journal Editorial, December 1, 2008

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, limits on medical malpractice awards have now been adopted in all but 15 states. Texas has been flooded with applications for medical licenses since it adopted damage caps in 2003. The Illinois Supreme Court can once again do the bidding of the plaintiffs bar, or this time it can side with patients and the rule of law.

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