NorthLight
Copyright 1997-2013 by North Star Institute
P.O. Box 73207, Houston, TX 77273



A voice for re-enfranchisement of the individual

www.northstarinst.org
gcgconsult(at) n-star [dot] com


An Online Newsletter published, updated and edited as the spirit moves ...

We call it "NorthLight"

A favorite work place for an artist  is a loft with a northern exposure. The North Light floods the room but does not throw deep shadows and colors are true. The artist can see clearly what actually is, and isn't tricked by harsh brilliance or deep shadow obscuring or distorting important things.

This is our purpose. To help our readers see reality in true color and undistorted. We will have accomplished our purpose if after reading us you see things you didn't see before; in society, politics, economics, education, religion and entertainment and they are clear to you from you own personal perspective and in light of  your own values.

Eventually, the truth will make us free. In the meantime we all have a lot of catching up to do. It is not so much that mechanisms of today's world have taken away our initiatives and freedoms as we have let it happen.  Perhaps this has been in exchange for unrealistic promises and expectations and misplaced trust. We have been conditioned by our well meaning elders and peers to become willing mules in a complex tableaux of elitist agencies and systems. Many of us may actually be some of those elitists. Our intentions are good, our product is something else.

The North Star Institute

Founded in 1994  to become a resource for individuals with a desire to increase their personal potential. The North Star also known as Polaris has, from before the beginning of history, been used by travelers and Navigators to help them determine their position. It is a fixed beacon in the firmament. It is fixed in space above the North Pole and to the observer on Earth, the whole sky appears to revolve around it. We feel that there are in fact other fixed beacons or benchmarks by which we can compare our knowledge and perception about all things material and spiritual. In fact, man's purpose appears to clearly be discover these. In religious terms, man's purpose is to search for God. Until much more is revealed,  each individual has a responsibility to define God for himself, and further he must refine and expand or simplify those definitions as more is revealed to him throughout his  life.

In the meantime, regarding human behavior, we have good guidance in "Love God .... and love your neighbor as your self".



Life is a Dynamic
by G. Curtis Gibby
24 May 1998

Nothing about life on Earth is static.  Consider a rock at the bottom of a canyon, apparently untouched by the forces of man.  You may come back to the spot and find it sitting there any number of times and nothing will have changed about it.  But, in fact, change has taken place changed because the planet has move in space and even the surface of the planet is under constant change.  The rock has been affected.  Life is not static.  Some things may have very long lives.  All living thing we know of will at some time die.  It's elements shall eventually be recombined with the matter of the planet and perhaps one day become part of another life form.  In fact, for there to be life, there needs to be death of other things.  Animals are slaughtered for their protein and fat and pelts or fall prey to other animals for the same purposes.  In the wild, the weak are culled from a herd.  Some die before they pass on their genetic signature, strengthening the herd.  Others essentially die of old age after their genes are passed on.  Even vegetables must die when they give up their nutrients to animals or reach the end of the growing season.  If they are not consumed by animals, plants eventually die and decompose and re-seed or become nutrients for new plant growth or for the thousands of other life forms on Earth.

The lesson is that we are all “in progress”.  As time goes on so do the dynamic processes.  We are born; we consume; we grow; we learn; we share knowledge; we reproduce; we die.  The ocean and the atmosphere are never still.  The tide goes back and forth.  The great currents redistribute seeds and spores and the matter of life all over the planet.  Oxidation is taking place because that is a process of life.  The Earth itself is in constant internal motion.  Land masses still are moving over a molten core.  Energy is received from the sun and given up to space.  And we humans are part of the stream of life and change that involves millions of life forms from the microscopic to the gargantuan.  At the moment, we humans seem to have a legitimate part in this, yet we have know way to know whether we will always have a part or not cannot be determined.  Apparently Homo sapiens has only been here for a heartbeat.

Intelligence is not a human monopoly, but self determination seems to be.  Whether this assures our continued existence or jeopardizes it remains to be seen.



Turning the other Cheek
by G. Curtis Gibby
25 May 98

This week a vote was held wherein over 90 percent of the the people in the republic of Ireland and 70 percent of the people of Northern Ireland have agreed that it's time to stop the killing and start patching things up.  If you saw the movie, “Michael Collins,” you will know that this will be no easy task. When memories flare, each side will remember the atrocities committed on it by the other side.  When Americans celebrate memorial day we remember the Lusitania, we remember Pearl Harbor, we remember the Bataan Death March.  All atrocities. But we have put those feeling aside in order to build a future worth living.  If the violence is ever to stop, then stopping the violence becomes first priority.  Things like disarmament of the other side are not important.  What is important is that the weapons are put away and not longer used.   When the violence stops, the details may be debated for years to come, but people now may  move ahead in their lives.  If “justice” is sought there will never be a balance struck and  violent retaliation again and again becomes the order of the day.


The Death Penalty
8 Jun 1997
 

My first reaction to a mention of a death penalty is that's it's a matter of arithmetic. If a person is executed for a capital crime, the body count is always increased by one. Nothing is made right again, just that the perpetrator receives the ultimate punishment, and the life of another human being is on the conscience of those who order it and carry it out. The brutalization continues. There is one justification for the death penalty.  That, for whatever reason, it becomes clear that perpetrator if allowed to live, even incarcerated, he still presents a clear danger to others. In other words, it is a near certainty he can be expected to kill again,  and clearly there is no hope for rehabilitation.

Justified ordering of execution also presupposes the existence of direct evidence that the party is the guilty party. Under no rule involving logic can a person be deprived of his life based on circumstantial evidence alone. If there is a any room for doubt then there cannot be absolute certainty that the guilty party has been convicted, only a high likelihood. Incarceration might well be justified, because incarceration although it cannot be reversed, it can be terminated, on discovery of new evidence which may prove the party's innocence and this has happened. Not often but enough to prove the possibility, and any wrongful death committed by the state is on the conscience of all of us.

As generally opposed to the death penalty as I am, as a matter of prevention I could  kill any person or persons who in my judgment threatened the life or welfare of myself or any of my loved ones and I could not immediately see an alternative.  The right,  is recognized in most states of the Union.  This is not to imply in the least that taking the life of a another human being would ever, "Make your day."  It will complicate your life immensely, and you will have to live with the fact, justified as it might be,  for the rest of you life.

However, once the crime is committed, the state, in all civilized societies, assumes the burden to apprehend and prosecute those responsible.  It must take the steps necessary prevent the guilty parties from repeating their crimes.  Further, this relieves the victim and the family of the victim from the responsibility for revenge.  It allows the matter to be put to rest.  It will not make things right.  It does provide a basis for life to continue.  When the news media solict opinions about the death penanlty  from the families of the victims, it may sell papers but has no basis in law and responces will vary.  However I have never heard the relative of a victim say more than the execution has provided some sort or resolution.   I have never heard that it made them happy or feel better.  There's that problem of arithmetic.

The underlying principle of sentencing is one of "punishment".  It is assumed that with sufficient punishment a criminal may "pay his debt to society". This totally ignores several things. One, rarely can a crime ever be undone. Although it could be possible, no serious attempt is ever made for the criminal to provide anything approaching restitution. And, the principle of rehabilitation, still presumed by many citizens to be available to prisoners, is often a bad joke. On top of this, criminals are released before their sentences are up, unrehabilitated, unsupervised and not surprisingly, do what they do best, Society is again injured, and the criminal cynically repeats the cycle.

One supposes in the light of this, the death penalty is not an unreasonable alternative to a disenchanted, cynical citizen.

This is to throw out the baby out with the path water. To use an illogical act to compensate another illogical act does not produce a positive result.

Death Penalties are not a panacea, but may be justified and logical in a limited number of circumstances. But never is it logical to execute a person convicted solely on circumstantial evidence.

It has it never been proven the existence of a death penalty has reduced the number of murders. Most murders are crimes of passion. When robberies go wrong, there is no time to think of a death penalty. Random murders by deranged or drugged perpetrators who will not give any thought to penalties. Terrorist acts are often acts of suicide or committed by those who perceive themselves to be in a military context or on a righteous mission. To the remainder, the true badasses, the incorrigible, who delight in hurting others as much for the enjoyment as for any proceeds of a crime, the death penalties are merely a risk factor, but not a deterrent. These, when caught and proven beyond a doubt guilty of capital crime and if ever given the chance will kill again, are those for whom the death penalty may be warranted, and from which society will benefit because in the arithmetic of the social equation, future lives can be saved and misery avoided.

In the other cases, society is challenged to exercise good judgment. When a perpetrator cannot be rehabilitated, he can be prevented from contact with society, and in a limited way he can be made productive, even if imprisoned. This could and would reduce the present shrill, irrational demand for the death penalty as "punishment".


Are You Ready to Graduate from High School in Texas?
by G. Curtis Gibby
11 November 1999

I sent this text in a letter to the Chairman of Texas State Education Agency.  His reply as I recollect was that this was very "Interesting."  Students devote twelve years of their lives to getting an "education".  All taxpayers, parents or not, pay dearly for this education.  If  you pay for something, you should expect some benefit.   The most commonly defined benefit is that the school system will produce individuals who will be "Useful members of society."  I suggest further that this education should make the student self-sufficient and fully able to determine his future.
 

Sure you've passed all the courses and you've passed the TAAS, but are you ready for life?  I'm assuming that you already know if you are headed for college or you are about to enter the work force.  In either case you are either self-supporting or will be in a few years. And,  you must be prepared to function in an increasingly complex world.  Has the school system prepared you adequately?

If you assume that a high school graduate should have the knowledge he needs to live a good enjoyable life and contribute to society and the economy, you may want to review the following list.  I've thought about it and these are a few of the things that I've observed are useful to know.

A high school graduate should be able to:
Change a flat tire.  Check the Oil Level.  Know what is a mechanic's lien.  Know how to shop for an automobile or pickup truck (This is Texas).  Choosing financing.  Warranties or lack thereof on new and used vehicles.  Conditions that allow repossessions.  Key Points of the Sales contract or agreement.  The buyer's remorse  provisions of Texas law as applied to auto sales.  Say what is the Lemon Law.  Choose automobile insurance.  What does the dealer mean when he says “TT&L” and how much does it cost?  Know Sales tax on an automobile sale?

Your rights and responsibilities as a citizen in a traffic stop situation and the authority and responsibility of the police.  Stopping at night.  Determining whether a stop is legitimate.

Read the contents and warnings on a package or bottle of common household and yard products.
Know how to reset an electrical  breaker or replace a fuse and to determine if a danger exists.
Know how a household drain system works.  First steps to clear it.
How do you prepare for a severe environmental event? Hurricane, Flooding.

Calculate Federal Taxes on the income of the average shop worker, married and unmarried, working spouse and non working spouse.

Calculate the amount of a mortgage payment.  Show payment of principle, buildup of escrows, amount collected by various taxing authorities on the Low Median Home. Rights of appeal.  Homestead provision.  Consequences of Renting living quarters.

Demonstrate the ability to prepare and follow or evaluate a personal or family budget.
Buying a house.  Finding a house suitable for you.  Understand: What is meant by Closing costs and Points. Who does the broker work for?  Benefits of inspections.  Warranties.  Title protection.  Types of contracts.

Buying things on time.  How do credit cards work?  Shopping for credit cards?  Changing cards.  Demonstrate the ability to read a credit card statement and understand exactly how interest is applied and payments calculated.

How does one apply for employment?  Fill out a typical application.  What questions are illegal, which are voluntary?  Make a resume.

A person's rights and responsibilities as an employee.   Fair Labor Practices.  Demonstrate an understanding of “employee benefits”.  Demonstrate an understanding of “withholdings” of a pay check.  How they are calculated.

What does “right to work” mean?  What is a labor union?
Know the difference between full and part-time work How does this effect the employee's benefits?

What is a Temporary agency?

What do you need to know and to do to start a business in the State of Texas?

Understand the benefit of saving.  Evaluate different saving opportunities.  Understand risks and rewards of various savings and investment plans  Know how to calculate simple and compound interest.  Understand the basics of the stock markets and the major methods of investing.  Understand the role of the broker and how he makes money.

What are the insurance needs of the individual?  Describe different kinds of Insurance and the key features of policies.  Life.  Medical.  Loan and Mortgage.  Liability.  Automobile.  Get quotes.

Demonstrate the ability to read a credit card statement and understand exactly how interest is applied and payments calculated.

Read a typical credit report.  Understand what it says and how it is used by financial institutions.  Know your rights under credit reporting law.

Show an understanding of human reproductive issues.  Means of control.  Consequences of unplanned children.  Sexual activity as a public and personal health issue.  List all the known Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).  What is their occurrence in the population by demographic classifications, are they curable, chronic, have permanent consequences or is the disease terminal or lead to terminal conditions.  What are the protections are available and their effectiveness.  Who will pay when medical care is required?

Understand the social and legal consequences of marriage and common law marriage.  Community property.  Consequences of life as a single parent.  Recognizing how a relationship can get into trouble.  When does physical and psychological interaction between spouses become a legal or criminal issue?  Recognizing the signs.  Courses of action.

List all the elections that are conducted on a 1, 2, 4 and 6 year cycles.  Which are state, federal and local? How do you register to vote?  What are the qualifications?  Be registered to vote to graduate (Probably not constitutional).  How to run for an elected position.  When and where do you register to run? What fees must be paid with and without sign up lists?

Know how political parties work?  What is a primary election?  What is a precinct meeting?  What are conventions?  What conventions are held.  How are delegates chosen?
Show basic knowledge of non financial personal and family security issues.  This includes your person, your spouse, your children, your property.   Security awareness.  Thinking ahead.  Avoiding situations which a criminal might take advantages of.  Drinking and drug use and interacting with strangers.  What things can you do to “crime proof” a house?  Controlling access to your personal records and credits card statements.  How to prevent your telephone from being used against you?  Why not everyone  may who may legally own a firearm may choose not to.
In addition to knowing the law, know the pros and cons of using firearms in self-defense.  What are the alternatives?

Benefits and concerns of having a computer in the home and the home office.  Security issues with the Internet.  Know ways to protect and  limit access to personal information and inappropriate sites on the Internet.  Children in the house are a special issue.  What is the common experience on bringing home your first computer?   What is the Internet?  What is an Internet server.  What is e-mail?  What is mean by an Operating System.  What is an application?

What are the penalties for common adolescent and young adult infractions with controlled substances?

State the purpose of tax supported universal education.


Theory Of Agency
by G. Curtis Gibby
10 November 1999

 Once an agency is created, its prime directive becomes one of self-protection and growth.  It requires funding and provides status and employment to its members.   Its chartered purpose is merely the hook into the flesh of society that legitimizes its existence and is the original source of its authority.  By definition, what is good for the agency is good for the people over which it exercises authority or provides service and from whom it derives funding.  Any attempt to control an agency will bring out an animal defense response from that agency.  Also by definition an agency may never be held responsible for failure.  Failure is always caused by something outside the agency (an individual, group, government, and international conspiracy or another agency) or insufficient funding or resources.  By definition, a citizen has no right of self-defense against an agency.  The most successful agencies develop a true killer instinct.  A successful agency has  no conscience when it comes to carrying out its prime directive nor do the people that lead that agency.


Communism by Victor Sheymov
Selected by G. Curtis Gibby
10 November 1999

 Victor took a breath and continued: Think about the sheer number of heinous crimes committed in the name of communism.  That there would be a sufficient number of genuine sociopaths living in any one country to accomplish the murders of so many tens of millions of people is statistically improbable. But Party conscience gave millions of 'normal' people an incentive to commit otherwise-unthinkable atrocities for 'the good of the Party.' Did you have any idea that Communism has killed many times more people in the name of equality, and the proletariat, than the Nazis ever killed for their evil cause?
 .....  in the communist state the slaves' natural desire for freedom is repressed. They remained unaware of their slavery Since generation after generation had never experienced freedom, they were ignorant of what they were missing. Like anyone born and raised in captivity, these inmates assumed the rest of the world was no different from their prison. Their idea of getting to the top of their 'free' world was to become the equivalent of a prison guard."
 Sheymov, Victor, Tower of Secrets, 1993, Naval Institute Press 118 Maryland Ave., Annapolis  Avenue Md 21402 pp 265 - 267



End of the Enlightenment by Roger L. Emerson
Selected by G. Curtis Gibby
10 November 1999

The Enlightenment came to an end in western Europe after the upheavals of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era (1789-1815) revealed the costs of its political program and the lack of commitment in those whose rhetoric was often more liberal than their actions.  Nationalism undercut its cosmopolitan values and assumptions about human nature, and the romantics attacked its belief that clear intelligible answers could be found to every question asked by people who sought to be free and happy.  The skepticism of the philosophes was swept away in the religious revival of the 1790s and early 1800s, and the cultural leadership of the landed aristocracy and professional men who had supported the Enlightenment was eroded by the growth of a new wealthy educated class of businessmen, products of the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.  Only in North and South America, where industry came later and revolution had not led to reaction, did the Enlightenment linger into the 19th century.  Its lasting heritage has been its contribution to the literature of human freedom and some institutions in which its values have been embodied.  Included in the latter are many facets of modern government, education, and philanthropy.
Roger L. Emerson, Software Toolworks Encyclopedia Rel 6



Sound Bites
Selected by G. Curtis Gibby

Government Existence
 No government can exist without the cooperation of people who are governed.

Evil
 All that is required for the forces of evil to prevail is for enough good men to do nothing.
(Can't remember who is credited with saying this first, but it is still true)

Freedom
 Until we are all free, none of us can be truly free.
(Various people)

Swift Justice...
Off with their heads!
The Mad Queen (Lewis Carroll)

Paranoia
 Sometimes I think I’m too paranoiac.  Other times I think I’m not paranoiac enough.
Attributed to Charlemagne in the play Pippin

Gift of God
 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:12,13, NIV

Man’s Purpose
 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
Acts 17

Theory
 There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another which states that this has already happened.
  Adams, Douglas, The Restaurant at the end of the Universe, Pocket books, Gulf & Western Corp, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 1980, front flyleaf.

China
 ... The party and the government will not show the devil cult (Falun Gong) any mercy because any benevolence shown to such heretics will trample the human rights of other citizens.
The Peoples Daily as reported by the AP Oct 99

Good
"No more good must be attempted than the people can bear."
Thomas Jefferson



References:

The following links enable you to directly access some web sites that will be of interest to the earnest patriot.

Famous Documents -  Certain documents have become inextricably part of our culture.  Others are antecedents.  Other documents are perhaps mostly wishful thinking.  See if you can see a  difference.

 The Bill of Rights Also links to Declaration of Independence, Constitution.

 The Magna Carta 1215

 Magna Carta Translation (notes)

 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 The Mayflower Compact



Famous Thinkers

 John Locke - Ideas in the Declaration of Independence  The key elements in Locke's political theory are natural rights, social contract, government by consent, and right of revolution.

 Leviathan - Thomas Hobbes  Man  by nature is evil. In the state of nature there is no formal law, no order, no culture, and no hope. In other words, a state of total chaos where no man has any individual rights, and all men are at war.



Some Useful Definitions (from American Heritage Dictionary)

meg·a·lo·ma·ni·a  n. 1. A psychopathological condition in which delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence predominate. 2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions. --meg·a·lo·ma·ni·ac n. --meg·a·lo·ma·ni·a·cal or meg·a·lo·man·ic  adj.

par·a·noi·a  n. 1. A psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of persecution or grandeur, often strenuously defended with apparent logic and reason. 2. Extreme, irrational distrust of others. [Greek, madness, from paranoos, demented : para-, beyond; see PARA-1 + nous, noos, mind.]

It was pointed out to me a long time ago by a mental health worker that most of what we recognize as mental illness is no more than the perfection in an individual of an otherwise normal personality trait.  Perhaps it does take one to know one.  We should take advantage of this knowledge.

com·mis·sar  n. 1.a. An official of the Communist Party in charge of political indoctrination and the enforcement of party loyalty. b. The head of a commissariat in the Soviet Union until 1946. 2. A person who tries to control public opinion. [Russian komissar, from German Kommissar, deputy, from Medieval Latin commissarius, agent. See COMMISSARY.]

ol·i·gar·chy  n., pl. ol·i·gar·chies. 1.a. Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families. b. Those making up such a government. 2. A state governed by a few persons.
 



More Reading:
Online versions of the National Standards for History in the Schools. Vazsonyi is very critical of this.  There are two versions both available at this site at UCLA.  I have read neither, but present them to anyone who cares to investigate for themselves.  If anyone does, I would like to here what you have to say about them.  I have read 1984 by George Orwell and It can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  These give you an appreciation of the possible.

 Study Guide for The Communist Manifesto with Access to On Line Text  Notes by Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-5020.  I haven't read this either, but it sure set the scene for a lot of human misery in our lifetime.


Democracy
If you want your government to work for you, you need to work it.  Here's where to find out, notify, advise, and check up on your elected officials.
Project Vote Smart, find out how your elected officials voted and how to contact them by e-mail
League of Women Voters Liberal tendencies but hard, honest work too. Check the chapter in your state or municipality to find out where candidataes stand on issues.
OpenSecrets.org   Find out who's paying your politician.

Federal and State Government Servers

We're located in Houston, Texas.  These are the links I use.  You can find similar links for almost any place in the country.
Harris County Home Page
City of Houston
Lotto Texas Results See if you need to go to work anymore (slow posting!)
State of Texas Government
Fedworld
House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
The Whitehouse  Send e-mail to the Whitehouse which will be ignored
 Federal Statistics