Friday, October 24th 2014
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ON THE ROAD TO MANDALAY Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 23 October 2014

hb_pagan_sunset2.png

Burma is a hidden country. Sandwiched between India and Thailand, it is essentially the drainage basin of the Irawaddy River, rising in the glaciers at the southeast corner of the Tibetan Plateau and flowing south for 1,350 miles to the Bay of Bengal.

Out of a welter of tribal regions and warring principalities, it emerged into history only about a thousand years ago with the Pagan Empire.  It established Buddhism throughout what is now Burma, and constructed over 10,000 Buddhist temples during the 10th-13th centuries.  2,200 remain in the plains of Pagan today, one of the world's most wondrous sights -- as you can see by the picture above.

The Mongol invasions of the late 1200s wiped Pagan out. Various kingdoms warred, rose, and fell for the next 500 years until the Brits arrived, who in a series of Anglo-Burmese Wars from 1824-1885 colonized and created Burma as a Province of British India.  The capital was Rangoon, built by the Brits into a flourishing city known as The Garden City of the Orient, and way upriver on the Irawaddy was the city they were all lyrical about - Mandalay.

It was Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) who made Burma the ultimate of the romantically exotic with his poem Mandalay in 1890. 

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
        Come you back to Mandalay,
        Where the old Flotilla lay:
        Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
        On the road to Mandalay,
        Where the flyin'-fishes play,
        An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

I'd like you to come with me on the Road to Mandalay...
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RUSSIA IS DECAYING FASTER THAN THE SOVIET UNION Print E-mail
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Thursday, 23 October 2014

It took two years for crumbling oil prices to bring the Soviet Union to its knees in the mid-1980s, and another two years of stagnation to break the Bolshevik empire altogether.

Russian ex-premier Yegor Gaidar famously dated the moment to September 1985, when Saudi Arabia stopped trying to defend the crude market, cranking up output instead.

"The collapse of the USSR should serve as a lesson to those who construct policy based on the assumption that oil prices will remain perpetually high. A seemingly stable superpower disintegrated in only a few short years," he wrote in 2007.

Lest we engage in false historicism, it is worth remembering just how strong the USSR still seemed. It knew how to make things. It had an industrial core, with formidable scientists and engineers.

Vladimir Putin's Russia is a weaker animal in key respects, a remarkable indictment of his 15-year reign. He presides over a rentier economy, addicted to oil, gas and metals, a textbook case of the Dutch Disease.

"Russia is already in a perfect storm," says Lubomir Mitov, Moscow chief for the Institute of International Finance. "Russia is fundamentally crippled. They have outsourced their brains and lost their technology. It looked as if Russia was strong during the oil boom but it was an illusion and now they are in an even worse position than the Soviet Union," he says.
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TED'S TOP TEN FOR 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Ted Cruz   
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

By all signs, Americans are preparing to send Washington a clear message in the 2014 elections.

The question is, will Washington listen?

Republicans - poised to take control of Congress - should set our sights on three big goals to make Americans feel confident in their futures once again: jumpstart the economy, safeguard constitutional liberties, and strengthen our national security.

Here are ten critical priorities for the 2015 Congress:

First, embrace a big pro-jobs, growth agenda.

For six years, the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation, hurting millions. A Republican Congress should immediately help Americans get more jobs by embracing America's energy renaissance.

This means passing legislation to make it easier to build energy infrastructure, such as the Keystone pipeline. But, we need an energy policy that's bigger than Keystone.

An effective energy plan would also protect innovative energy technology, such as hydraulic fracturing, from being handcuffed by the federal government. We can also open up land for exploration and ensure that American companies can export liquefied natural gas around the world.

And, lastly, stop the EPA from implementing rules that will destroy coal jobs and drive up our electricity bills.

Second,
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CHEAPER OIL IS GOOD NEWS FOR ALL Print E-mail
Written by Matt Ridley   
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

So ingrained is the bad-news bias of the intelligentsia that the plummeting price of oil has mostly been discussed in terms of its negative effect on the budgets of oil producers, both countries and companies.

We are allowed to rejoice only to the extent that we think it is a good thing that the Venezuelan, Russian and Iranian regimes are most at risk, which they are, and which is indeed good news.

Yet by far the greater benefit of the oil price fall comes from the impact on consumers. The price of Brent crude oil in Europe has fallen from about $115 a barrel in June to about $86 today (10/22), while crude in the US is at $82.

That will make a tank of gas cheaper (though not by as much as it should, because of taxes) but it will also make everything from chairs to chips to chiropractic cheaper too, because the cost of energy is incorporated into the cost of every good and service we buy. The impact of this cost deflation will dwarf any effect of, say, a fall in the price of Exxon shares in your pension plan.
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THE 10TH AMENDMENT SOLUTION TO GOVERNMENT INEPTITUDE Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Under the "leadership" of Dr. Thomas Frieden, the Centers for Disease Control has fought smoking and obesity, built bike lanes, conducted "Zombie Preparedness Drills," argued gun violence should be treated as a public health issue.

When CDC was established in 1946 (as the Communicable Diseases Center), it was created for the explicit purpose of protecting Americans from dangerous epidemics. CDC isn't very good at that.

Virtually every assurance Dr. Frieden made about Ebola isn't true. Most alarmingly false was CDC's claim any U.S. hospital with an isolation ward could treat Ebola patients safely. Only four hospitals in the entire country are fully equipped to treat the deadly disease. Most are woefully unprepared.

Such ridiculous (and dangerous) ineptitude is not an aberration in our ridiculously vast federal bureaucracy -- it's the norm.  We need a 10th Amendment solution for it.
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WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM INCOME TAX RATE? Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014

What is the maximum income-tax rate that anyone should be expected to pay?

Some questions are never settled, in part because people often ignore the theoretical and empirical evidence, and history that can help answer the question. The question of what an optimum income-tax rate would look like is one of those questions.

Rather than attempt to answer it, political demagogues merely shout: "It is only fair that the rich pay more."

Back in 1971, a Scottish economist by the name of James A. Mirrlees wrote a groundbreaking paper, in which he attempted to answer the question of what an optimum income-tax regime would look like if one desired to reduce inequalities while at the same time not discouraging work and economic growth.

Up to the time of Dr. Mirrlees' work, no one had been able to figure out the optimum trade-off between equality and efficiency. Dr. Mirrlees was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1996 for his work, and was knighted in 1998.  Here is what he won his Nobel and knighthood for.
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HALF-FULL REPORT 10/17/14 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 17 October 2014

Lots of uplifting news this week, but first a trio of questions.  Are you a big fan of Eric Holder?  No?  Well, how would you like an Eric Holder on steroids?  No again?   Lastly, why is Sarah Palin answering Yes! to these questions instead?

Because that's precisely what she is doing in Louisiana. 

Zero intends to nominate Tom Perez, a racist fascist far worse than Holder for AG, should the Pubs fail to win the Senate.  And that's just for starters.  Harry Reid running the Senate for the next two years will allow Zero to run completely amok.

Yet Sarah, rather than telling the Louisiana Spoiler - Rob Maness - to stand up like a man for his country and bow out, has doubled down on her support for him.  This is ludicrously mistaken and here's why....

Elsewhere, things are looking pretty good.  This week has seen an amazing number of October Surprises - all of which have screwed Zero and the Dems.  Bad Karma has finally caught up with them.

*In Texas, hero-to-baby-killers Wendy Davis drove her gubernatorial campaign straight off a cliff with her wheelchair attack ad on Greg Abbott.  After a deluge of disgust, she doubled-down with her ridicule.  Abbott was already ahead by 14 points before Wendy's hara-kiri ads.  Wendy gives the term "politics of personal destruction" a new meaning.  Here are more examples...

Yet all of that is merely the tip of the Bad News Iceberg for the Dems this week.  Beneath that tip is...
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HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM EBOLA Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 16 October 2014

Americans are living in Panic City over Ebola thanks to the now-lethal incompetence of Obola Obama.

He has allowed his fascist political ideology to become homicidally criminal.  He refuses to close our southern border from illegal invasion causing epidemics and to bar entry to anyone from Ebola-stricken countries as that would be the failure of his Amnesty goal of millions of new Democrat voters.

Hundreds of children in 46 states have been infected with Enterovirus D-68, with seven deaths reported by the CDC as of 10/15.  As Jack Kelly notes today (10/16): 

"There are more than 100 enteroviruses, ranging from the common cold to polio. EV D-68 has been very rare here. (But) EV D-68 is common in Central America, from whence came the flood of illegal immigrant children. The outbreak was first reported in communities to which they were sent.  CDC refuses to connect the dots.  Why won't it?"

Now add the Ebola Panic to this.  Ebola is being called Obama's Katrina for good reason.  The frightening incompetence of Obama's CDC should terrify anyone actually sentient regarding Obamacare's government seizure of America's entire health care system.

Let's take a break from Ebola politics and talk about how to actually protect yourself from it - from Ebola specifically and from any other viral contagion.
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WHY WON'T OBAMA PROTECT US FROM EBOLA AND ILLEGAL ALIEN VIRUS CARRIERS Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 16 October 2014

After a Liberian man brought the deadly disease to America last month, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, assured us: "We'll stop Ebola in its tracks." CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of the disease, he said.

File that assurance alongside "you can keep your health plan it you want to," and "ISIS is a jayvee team."

Our unpreparedness for an Ebola epidemic makes it all the more imperative to bar entry to people from Ebola-ravaged countries. A quarantine is a must, experts say. But President Barack Hussein Obama won't impose one.  Why not?

So far, just one person in America has died from Ebola. At least seven, mostly children, have died from Enterovirus D-68. There are more than 100 enteroviruses, ranging from the common cold to polio. EV D-68 has been very rare here. CDC has offered no explanation for this outbreak.

EV D-68 is common in Central America, from whence came the flood of illegal immigrant children. The outbreak was first reported in communities to which they were sent.  CDC refuses to connect the dots.  Why won't it?
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ALL IT TAKES TO KILL OFF ISIS IS TO LET OUR MILITARY DO IT Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Americans should brace themselves for a long and difficult struggle, Barack Hussein Obama said when he announced air strikes on the headquarters of the Islamic State in Syria Sept. 23.

We can't defeat Islamic radicals with military force, say others among the self-styled cognoscenti in our political and media elites, because they are motivated by an idea, and "you can't kill an idea."

The overall struggle against Islamism will take a long time, because there are so many Islamists, in so many places, in different flavors. That's why when my friend Bill Roggio started the blog that's the best source of news about developments in the struggle, he called it the "Long War Journal."

But if we actually tried to win, it wouldn't be difficult, or take very long to reduce the threat posed by the Islamic State from potentially catastrophic to something more like a nuisance. Here's how and why.
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HOW BITCOIN TECHNOLOGY COULD CREATE A FAR FREER WORLD Print E-mail
Written by Matt Ridley   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Amid the current maelstrom of war, disease and politics, you might have not been paying much attention to bitcoin, the electronic form of money favored by radical libertarians and drug dealers. Yet it is possible that when the history of these days comes to be written, bitcoin's story will loom large.

Unnoticed except by the tech-obsessed, the technology behind bitcoin may be slowly giving birth to a brave new world, with eventual implications well beyond money.

So argues Bitcoin: The Future of Money?, a new book by Dominic Frisby, a columnist for MoneyWeek magazine published in Britain.

Frisby makes the case that it is just possible that bitcoin and its rivals - known as altcoins - and the "blockchain" technology that lies behind them have the potential to spark a radical decentralization of society itself. They could change the way governments finance themselves, make banks redundant and transform the ways companies are run.

If he is right, then the founder of bitcoin will take his place alongside the great inventors. So who is he?
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IF YOU WANT MORE JOBS, DON'T PAY PEOPLE NOT TO WORK Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014

If you pay people not to work, what do you think they will do?

In a new staff paper published by the New York Federal Reserve Bank titled "Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment in the Great Recession," the researchers found "that most of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extension of unemployment-benefit eligibility."

The irony here is that President Obama and the congressional Democrats kept voting to extend the unemployment benefits, which had the effect of keeping unemployment far higher for a much longer time than if they had not done so.

As the Fed researchers explained: "Our results lead us to expect that the stimulative effect of higher spending by the unemployed is largely offset by the dramatic negative effect on employment."

The artificially induced higher unemployment caused economic growth and total output to be significantly lower. The high unemployment and slow growth are major issues in the upcoming election -- all working against the interest of the Democrats, who voted for this destructive policy.

Some Democrats voted for the extended unemployment benefits in the name of compassion for the unemployed without thinking through the consequences -- particularly to themselves.
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COULD THE SICKEST MAN OF EUROPE BE GERMANY? Print E-mail
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014

France may look like the sick of man of Europe, but Germany's woes run deeper, rooted in mercantilist dogma, the glorification of saving for its own sake, and the corrosive psychology of ageing.

"Germany considers itself the model for the world, but pride comes before the fall," says Olaf Gersemann, Die Welt's economics chief, in a new book, The Germany Bubble: the Last Hurrah of a Great Economic Nation.  (Released last month in a German edition, hopefully an English edition will soon follow.)

Mr. Gersemann says the Second Wirtschaftswunder - or economic miracle - from 2005 onwards has "gone to Germany's head". The country has mistaken a confluence of exceptional events for permanent ascendancy. It cannot continue to live off exports of capital goods to China and the BRICS as they hit the buffers, or by stealing a march on southern Europe through wage compression, a zero-sum game.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), makes a parallel critique in his new book, Die Deutschland Illusion, no translation needed.

It is the self-deception of a country "resting on its laurels," prisoner of the "household fallacy" that economies are like family budgets, and falsely reassured by the misplaced flattery of foreigners who rarely look under the bonnet at the German engine below.
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THE PHYSICAL CASE FOR HAPPINESS Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Friday, 17 October 2014

We are all familiar with the basic guidelines for good health: exercise, eat right - more fruits and veggies, less red meat, fewer calories, more fiber, less sugar - don't smoke, don't abuse alcohol or drugs.

If we follow these guidelines and maintain an optimal weight, we can avoid or at least diminish the risk or severity of many common health problems.

But there is another dimension to our health. How we think and feel, how we interact with others, and the kinds of things we spend our time doing can have a huge impact on our physical health.

There is a clear difference, for example, between people who are more optimistic and people who are more pessimistic. Optimists have greater longevity - living an average of about eight years longer than pessimists.

They have healthier hearts, more resilient immune systems, and even have fewer bad events happen to them. This isn't magic, it's because they take active steps to anticipate and avoid those bad events.
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BECOMING MRS. ZERO Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 17 October 2014

Now that President Zero is finally no longer being worshipped and his popularity having fallen off a cliff, it's interesting to see the same thing happen to Mrs. Zero.

To The Point has always viewed her as such, but we welcome the public which is at last seeing things our way.

The principal reason is the hatred school children and now their parents have for her Food Fascism.  The WaPo reports that even school nutritionists are balking over her school lunch agenda.

This week (10/15), the photo of a pathetically paltry school lunch costing $3 in accordance with Mrs. Zero's Food Fascism went viral.  There is now an explosion of parental anger towards her all over the country.

She compounded this by becoming a laughingstock this week.  Believe it or not, the White House released a six-second repeating loop of her dancing with a turnip.  Here she is with her turnip - promoting healthy eating, you see - bopping to "Turn up for what?", a rap song by some rapper calling himself Lil John:
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