Friday, September 19th 2014
The Oasis for
Rational Conservatives

To The Point News
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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Written by Caroline Glick   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Passover, which began on Monday night (4/14), is the festival of freedom.

We repeat the story of enslavement, flight, redemption and freedom each year at Passover, because our sages wanted to ensure that we never forget the value of freedom, and remain vigilant in our fight for it.

In Israel, where our freedom is physically threatened, most Jews understand and live by the lessons of Passover.  But something is happening to the Jews in America.

More and more, every day we see American Jews embracing intellectual bondage. We see American Jewish leaders embracing the intolerant, who seek to constrain freedom, and shunning those who fight for freedom and the rights of Jews and other threatened peoples and groups.

To a large degree, this rejection of the lessons of the Exodus among the American Jewish community reflects the growing intolerance and tyranny of the political Left, to which most American Jews pledge their allegiance.  Here are the latest odious examples.
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Russia is at increasing risk of a full-blown financial crisis as the West tightens sanctions and Russian meddling in Ukraine pushes the region towards conflagration.

The country's private companies have been shut out of global capital markets almost entirely since the crisis erupted, causing a serious credit crunch and raising concerns that firms may not be able to refinance debt without Russian state support.

"No Eurobonds have been rolled over for six weeks. This cannot continue for long and is becoming a massive issue," said an official from a major Russian bank. "Companies have to roll over $10bn a month and nothing is moving. The markets have been remarkably relaxed about this, given how dangerous it is. Russia's greatest vulnerability is the bond market," he said.

The warnings came as EU foreign ministers agreed to draft plans for "Stage III" sanctions - this time hitting economic and financial targets - if Russian president Vladimir Putin sends troops into East Ukraine or tries to seize territory. Washington is forcing the pace in any case as is tightens the noose by other means, using regulatory "stealth" power to force banks across the world to pull back from Russia.
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Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Do you think the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies should have the right to seize your assets, including your bank accounts, when you have not been convicted of wrongdoing?

The fact is, the IRS and other government agencies do this all the time, and often without even a formal accusation of wrongdoing.

Thus, in criminal cases, the government has to convince a judge and jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. Under civil asset-forfeiture laws, no such proof is required -- and, as a result, many innocent people have had their property taken by agents of the federal government.

Anyone who is awake knows that the IRS has been politicized -- and thus critics of the administration live in fear that their property will be taken for the mere act of speaking out against the government.  There is only one solution.
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