Thursday, July 31st 2014
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Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

[Note by JW:  Ambrose has written something which should provide lively debate on the TTP Forum.  Feel free to counter him with opposing facts and data.]

Americans are purging their excesses one by one. Spending by the US Federal government has seen the steepest drop as share of national income since demobilization after the Second World War.

Claims that President Barack Obama is bankrupting America with a lurch towards hard-left statism are for tabloid consumption only. Outlays have fallen from 24.4% to 20.6% of GDP in five years. Spending is roughly in line with its 40-year average. This fiscal squeeze has been achieved without driving the economy into recession or a Lost Decade, a remarkable feat.

The US Congressional Budget Office expects the budget deficit to drop to 2.8% of GDP this year, and 2.6% next year. This is about the same as the Eurozone but with a huge difference. The US economy is expanding fast enough to outgrow its debts.

The US energy revolution is of course at least half the story. It has stoked booms across the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Texas.

Francisco Blanch, from Bank of America, estimates that shale gas and oil have given the US economy an extra tailwind worth 1.9% of GDP - what he calls the "energy carry" - with effects rippling through the chemical and plastics industries. New investments in ammonia plants are rising at an exponential rate, thanks to natural gas prices that are $4.40 (per BTU) in the US and $15 on Asia's spot market.

While Obama can in no way claim credit for this, the other half of the story is monetary stimulus a l'outrance (to the bitter end) - quantitative easing - to offset fiscal tightening and prevent a "pro-cyclical" downward spiral, which is what occurred when the European Central Bank jumped the gun and raised rates twice in 2011 before recovery was entrenched, setting off the cataclysmic crisis that nearly destroyed EMU in mid-2012.
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Written by Jack Kelly   
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

"Obamacare is on a winning streak," wrote Sam Baker in the National Journal April 16, the day the administration claimed 8 million people have signed up for it.

Good news is "snowballing," he said. "Enrollment has surged beyond expectations. Costs are coming in lower than predicted."

The fact that enrollment has exceeded the goal of 7.1 million the administration set last fall means the debate over Obamacare is "over," President Barack Hussein Obama said.

There are three rules of the thumb for evaluating things politicians say to which journalists ought to pay more heed:

Rule #1: When a politician proclaims debate on an issue "over," he means his side is losing it.

The truth, of course, is the president wants to change the subject because Obamacare is killing Democrats.
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Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 02 May 2014

At least 40 veterans on a secret waiting list at the Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix have died while waiting months -- in some cases a year or more -- for appointments, a whistleblower told CNN.

The secret waiting list was a scheme by managers to get around the VA rule that patients should see a doctor within 30 days of making an appointment, said Dr. Sam Foote.

When a vet asked for an appointment, his request wasn't entered in the official computer system, said Dr. Foote, who worked at the VA hospital in Phoenix for 24 years.

The patient's data was kept instead on a secret electronic list. If a vet died while waiting for an appointment, his or her name was deleted from the secret list. There was no official record he or she had ever asked for treatment.

This conspiracy to commit what amounts to murder wasn't confined to Phoenix, but is just the tip of the VA's criminal iceberg.
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Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Have you noticed that many political candidates, when running for office, claim they are going to make government less corrupt, irrational, incompetent and burdensome? Yet after they are elected, it only gets more so.

Politicians like to speak in broad, general terms rather than lay out specific things that they can and will do. If voters demand more specifics, though, they will get them.

The following are four specific measures that most members of Congress should be able to support because, once explained, the benefits are obvious.

*Let's start by asking:  Do you think you should be able rely on Internal Revenue Service guidance when preparing your taxes? This would seem to be a no-brainer - an obvious "yes."  However...
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Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 02 May 2014

Dead Whale May Explode… CBS News headline, April 30, 2014



HALF-FULL REPORT 04/25/14 Print E-mail
Written by Joe Katzman   
Friday, 25 April 2014

Yes. We Cannae.

Jack is writing about Tunisia, and the birthplace of Hannibal. He's also writing about the Arab Spring, and wondering about an American Spring. Me? I'm going to direct your focus to ol' Hannibal. Yes, he kicked serious ass in a number of battles. But it didn't happen by magic. At his greatest battle, Cannae, he was actually outnumbered by the other side:

That kind of victory demands more than inspiration. It starts with ruthless honesty, and relies on an extensive organization built to perform flexibly. Then it demands both outstanding leadership, and a battle plan that understands the enemy. In the end, however, Hannibal wanders Italy for 14 years, winning many battles, until he loses the war. Why? Because he did not build the forces he needed to attack and destroy the enemy's center, before Rome built itself to destroy his:

There are lessons here for us, if we are willing to let our minds absorb them. Some of those lessons may be uncomfortable. But Hannibal didn't win at Cannae by taking the counsel of his comfort. Did he?

This is my last HFR before Jack returns, so I'm going to leave a question hanging. Ask yourself: what is the enemy's center? Jack might say "envy," but that's a human trait which can never be eliminated. We need an answer that can be a target. It has to be an identifiable institution or belief set. One that explains both the macro actions and the personal incentives that have led us to this state as a society, and ties them together.

The more I think about it, the more I conclude that conservatives don't really know the answer. But unless they do, they can only change the speed at which they lose. So... think about it. And if you come up with anything good, tell the rest of us! Meanwhile, we can still make progress at the tactical level.

ADMIN NOTE: We've added an omitted "Ready the canon" section and video at the end, as of Saturday. Joe apologizes.
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 24 April 2014

Carthage, Tunisia.


The ruins here have a personal significance for me, as this is where Hannibal (247-181 BC) was born and raised.  He grew up to be one of the greatest military geniuses in history.  Everyone knows of his leading his army over the Alps with war elephants to attack Rome.  That was in 218 BC. 

It would be 2,197 years until elephants crossed the Alps again over the actual pass used by Hannibal - the Col du Clapier - when I led the expedition that did it in 1979.

The view from Byrsa Hill, upon which the main citadel of Carthage was built, is spectacular.  The Mediterranean shimmers in cobalt blue, while the capital city of Tunisia, Tunis, rises in the distance.  The extraordinary events that took place there three years ago launched what became known as the Arab Spring.

It was 190 miles to the south, however, in the obscure rural town of Sidi Bouzaid, where the initial spark occurred.  As I gazed out into the distance, I thought of the connection between an impoverished street vendor in Sidi Bouzaid named Mohamed Bouazizi and a cattle rancher in Bunkerville, Nevada named Cliven Bundy.
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Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 24 April 2014

"Born in the small rural mining town of Searchlight (on Dec. 2, 1939), (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid grew up in a small cabin without indoor plumbing, and attended a two-room elementary school," his official biography says.

"His father was a hard rock miner with an eighth grade education and his mother never completed high school; yet, the youngest of Harry and Inez Reid's four sons would go on to achieve the American dream."

Sen. Reid has a net worth between $2.57 million and $6.28 million, according to the personal financial disclosure form he filed with the Senate in 2012.

Amassing a fortune of that size is a remarkable feat for someone who has spent all but two years of his working life in "public service."
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Written by Caroline Glick   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US's indifferent response to it.

In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, America's most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

The US has responded to Chinese aggression with ever-escalating attempts to placate Beijing - while China has responded to these US overtures by demonstrating contempt for US power.

As for Europe, the Obama administration's responses to Russia's annexation of Crimea and to its acts of aggression against Ukraine bespeak a lack of seriousness and dangerous indifference to the fate of the US alliance structure in Eastern Europe.

In the Middle East, it is not only the US's obsessive approach to the Palestinian conflict with Israel that lies in shambles. The entire US alliance system and the Obama administration's other signature initiatives have also collapsed.  The key examples are Iran and Syria.

Yet the problem is not limited to Obama and his advisers or even to the political Left. Their delusional view that the US will suffer no consequences for its consistent record of failure and defeat is shared by a growing chorus of conservatives.
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Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The United States has constructed a financial neutron bomb. For the past 12 years an elite cell at the US Treasury has been sharpening the tools of economic warfare, designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot.

The strategy relies on hegemonic control over the global banking system, buttressed by a network of allies and the reluctant acquiescence of neutral states. Let us call this the Manhattan Project of the early 21st century.

"It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies' financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness," says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who helped spearhead policy after 9/11.

"The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive," he writes in his book Treasury's War: the Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.

Bear this in mind as Washington tightens the noose on Vladimir Putin's Russia, slowly shutting off market access for Russian banks, companies and state bodies with $714bn of dollar debt (Sberbank data).  And be aware of the clear risk of an "asymmetric" riposte by the Kremlin.
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Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014

When do you think the Associated Press reported this?

"The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable."

The Washington Post published this AP report on Nov. 2, 1922.

You may have noticed that the predicted disaster 92 years ago did not happen, nor have other predicted catastrophes from the global-warming crowd.  Yet the warmists' apocalyptic predictions continue unabated.  Why?
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Written by James Delingpole   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A tragedy occurred for all the greenies celebrating Earth Day yesterday (April 22).

The Associated Press released an AP-GfK poll revealing that more Americans believe in God than in man-made global warming.

Can't you just hear the wailing and gnashing of greenie teeth?  They will seize on this as proof that Americans are credulous and anti-scientific, but I'd draw the opposite conclusion. The survey instead shows how remarkably resilient Americans are in the face of relentless environmental brainwashing.

The schools, the universities, the government, the green NGOs, Hollywood and the Enemedia have invested billions of man hours and dollars trying to persuade Americans that climate change is the greatest threat of our age. But according to this survey, only 33 per cent are buying it - while another 37 per cent remain thoroughly unconvinced.

In the survey, respondents were asked how confident they were in a range of scientific statements. The ones in which they had fullest confidence were:
CAN'T WAIT Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 25 April 2014

HALF-FULL REPORT 04/18/14 Print E-mail
Written by Joe Katzman   
Friday, 18 April 2014

"There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress: "My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is... But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning."
- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium

Works for Jews, too. Happy Passover! Munching on matzoh (think of a brittle, utterly dried flour tortilla) has a way of making one think. You appreciate the lesson to all mankind, forever, that no man, no state, is a god to be worshipped. Caroline Glick is right this week about the kapos and progrom-leaders who kneel before other gods, and betray the history and mission of the Jewish nation. But our matzah teaches those who will learn. One: I will not be bought. I will eat prison food, yet sit content within a promise of freedom, given by my Creator who loves me. Two: "Earn this." In the very same way, and the very same sense, as Tom Hanks' dying words to Private Ryan:

"In every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had come out of Egypt, as it is said: "You shall tell your child on that day, it is because of this that the L-rd did for me when I left Egypt."

- Passover Hagadah

Did for me. For you. For all who have sacrificed through the ages, to carry the messages of God and freedom. Earn this.
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tripoli, Libya.  I - and events - are moving fast here, so I'm writing this on the fly.  I got here over the weekend after an incredible time in Socotra - which is more amazing than any pictures could show but no internet.

The night I arrived, Saturday 4/12, there was an attack on the family of Libya's latest Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni.  The next morning, Sunday 4/13, he resigned. 

Day before yesterday, Tuesday 4/15, Jordan's ambassador to Libya, Fawaz al-Aytan, was kidnapped by masked gunmen in broad daylight right here in downtown Tripoli.

I only learned of these events on CNN's website.  There was no evidence of anything unusual driving around the city, no one I talked to thought they were worth mentioning.  By all outward appearances, everything seems normal.  Lots of traffic, everyone going about their business, traffic cops behaving normally, no military police with checkpoints all over, no heightened security that I could see.

The same outside the city.  There are two astounding World Heritage Sites - Sabratha 40 miles west of Tripoli, and Leptis Magna, 80 miles to the east.  I've been to both since I got here, and not a single checkpoint on the way to either, government soldiers nor any militia.  Everything and everyone seemed normal, no problem. 

There are some weird things, of course.  Libya is one of the world's major oil producers, yet there are long - really long - lines of cars at every gas station.  An appreciable number of drivers, over 10% at least, are majnoon, reckless madman crazy.  Huge auto junk yards filled with horrifically wrecked cars attest to their winning Darwin Awards.

The positive surprises, however, outnumber the negative.  You could say it's springtime in Libya.
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