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Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014

Most wars result from at least one side overestimating its chances of success and one or more of the sides not having a clear "endgame."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a clear goal, which can be discerned from his own statements and actions, and from discussions with those who know him well. It is to leave as his legacy the re-establishment of the Russian Empire.

The Russian Empire existed from 1721, when Peter the Great proclaimed it, until its collapse in 1917. At its high point in 1866, the Russian Empire included all of modern-day Russia plus Alaska, Finland, the Baltic nations, much of present-day Poland, parts of other Eastern European countries, the Central Asia "Stans," part of Mongolia, and the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Mr. Putin, a master of strategy and timing, sees that he has a 2-year window of opportunity to grab or control much of the former Russian Empire. He correctly sees President Obama as weak and indecisive, and hence unwilling to stand in his way -- giving him a window before Americans likely elect a stronger president.

And he must start in Ukraine.  Here is why.
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Written by Alexander Green   
Wednesday, 07 May 2014

At an investment conference in Carlsbad, California last month, there were dozens of experts sharing their best ideas on stocks, bonds, interest rates, currencies, commodities, real estate and metals.

But I had the distinct honor of introducing someone who wasn't there to tell attendees how to optimize their portfolios. He was there to show us how to optimize the rest of our lives.

It was my good friend, Dr. Joel Wade.

As one of Jack Wheeler's closest friends, Joel has been writing The Virtue of Happiness column since the inception of TTP in 2003.  But I thought you should know more about him beyond the wisdom of these columns.

He offers a vital service.
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 09 May 2014

There is a scent that can ease anxiety, promote a sensation of security, calmness and control, in any uncomfortable situation.

An while you are insufflating the fragrant fumes, reflect on the advice of Henry Ford:

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."


HALF-FULL REPORT 05/02/14 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 02 May 2014

It's great to be back at the HFR ramparts.  I can't thank Joe Katzman enough for the amazing job he did all of last month while I was gone in Yemen, Socotra, Libya, Tunisia, and Portugal.  Thanks, Joe!  And to Miko, who held down the entire TTP fort.

Here's a quote to start things off:

"Russians are immune to both reason and the bludgeon.  The only thing you can do with a Russian is give him what he wants or kill him.  Unfortunately, even if you give him what he wants, sooner or later, you're probably going to have to kill him anyway."

This observation made by Rail Black, the fictional hero of Wildcase, a marvelous thriller novel written by my friend of many years, Neil Russell, seems acutely apt this week...

Other than Putin's invasion of Sudetenland Ukraine possibly triggering war between the US and USSR Russia - financial, military, covert or otherwise - the other blockbuster news of the week was the discovery of the Smoking Benghazi Gun that will blow away Hillary's chances for 2016.  Here it is...

All this talk of Benghazi reminds me of the mistake Clive Bundy made...

And the HFR Hero of the week is obviously...
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 01 May 2014

Sintra, Portugal.  We're finishing a repeat of the TTP Portugal Retreat today.  What a wonderful time Rebel and I have been having with our fellow TTPers.  We're completing it by having our own celebration of May Day.

For millennia, especially here in Europe, the First of May was a happy, joyful celebration of life after winter, with dancing around a Maypole and crowning a pretty girl with flowers as Queen of May.  When we were kids, my sisters would always get up early to pick flowers, and leave them in a basket at the front door for Mom, our family's Queen of May.

Today is a national holiday in Portugal, as it is in over 30 other countries in Europe and dozens of other countries around the world.  But not as May Day.  Instead, it's called International Workers Day.  Since it was the invention of Communists in 1889, it should be called Commie Day.  Only Communists could take an innocent celebration of springtime and turn it into celebration of murder, terrorism, hate, and envy.

Here's the story.  It begins not in Europe but in America.
Written by Karma Singh   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Hi, fellow TTPers.  You first heard from me last October when I told you about The Coming Capitalist Salvation of India.

It was a heads-up regarding the almost impossible-to-believe level of government venality and corruption in India today - and its impending cure: the election of India's Ronald Reagan, Narendra Modi.  So I'd like to suggest you re-read it to get you back to speed before we discuss what's happening right now.

Ready?  OK, here we go.

Since India's last general election in 2009, 100 million more voters have been added to the rolls, bringing India's electorate to 815 million.  You can't have them vote all at once, so the 2014 election is taking place in 9 regional phases from April 7 to May 12.  All 543 seats of India's Parliament, the Lok Sabha, will be chosen from a multitude of parties.  The results will be announced on May 16.

The country has not witnessed this kind of excitement about an election since independence in 1947. There have been record voter turnouts across the country. I cannot emphasize the prominence of this election to India and the world. The result of this election will not just change but transform the country, either for good or worse.
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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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