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WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT UKRAINE Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Why worry about Ukraine? To many, it seems far away and a country about which they know little.  (Excepting TTPers, of course, who were updated on events there in the HFR of 01/24/14.)

News clips of the recent violent demonstrations in Kiev have occasionally appeared on the news shows, but most Americans have shown little interest. Yet Ukraine has the very real possibility of setting off the next financial crisis.

The first thing to grasp about Ukraine is its size.  It is the largest country in Europe at 233ksm (thousand square miles), bugger than France (213ksm), not quite as big as Texas (268ksm).  The second thing is its critically strategic location between Russia and Europe (see maps below).

The crisis scenario is as follows: Russia is Europe's major gas supplier. About half of that gas is sent through pipelines that cross Ukraine.  Further, Ukraine is increasingly unstable for three reasons:
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LENO ON ZERO Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 14 February 2014

TTP will miss Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.  He was the only comedian and late night host with the courage to recognize what an incredibly ripe target Zero is for jokes and ridicule.  The audience roared and applauded at each one of his Zero Zingers.  Here's a collection of his best.

"I was going to start off tonight with an Obama joke, but I don't want to get audited by the IRS."

On Obama saying he didn't know about the IRS scandal: "He was too busy not knowing anything about Benghazi to not know anything about the IRS."

On NSA surveillance: "We wanted a president who listens to all Americans -- now we have one."

"It is not looking good for President Obama.  Today his teleprompter took the fifth."
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HALF-FULL REPORT 02/07/14 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 07 February 2014

Was there some kind of football game last Sunday?  I remember Broadway Joe's totally bitchin' fur coat that got all the PETA pussies in a tizzy. 

broadway_joe.png

And of course,  Tim Tebow's fabulous commercial:

 


But other than a safety being scored in the first 12 seconds, not much else.

Oh, yes, there was President Smidgen, demonstrating for the billionth time that he hasn't a smidgen of honesty in his devious heart of darkness.
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FROM THE BEST TO THE WORST IN ONE GENERATION Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 06 February 2014

103 years ago on this day, February 6, 2014, Ronald Reagan was born.

I wish I had the capacity to describe adequately what it was like being in Ronald Reagan's presence. I have met many extraordinary people in my life, from Hollywood's most famous stars to presidents of countries.  But Ronald Reagan had a magic that was unique to him alone.

There was a depth of character to his charisma that seemed bottomless. There was a solidity of integrity and humanity behind the dazzling charm that was matchless. You loved Ronald Reagan for his ideals and his complete fearlessness in advocating them - and you loved Ronald Reagan for the man, the human being, he was.

On March 30, 1961, as a spokesman for General Electric and well before he entered politics, he gave a speech to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, which he entitled "Encroaching Control."  In it, he delivered one of his most famous quotes:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it and then hand it to them with the well thought lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same. And if you and I don't do this, then you and I may well spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.

It is one thing to read these words.  It is another to listen to him actually say them:



The power of his voice makes you cry, doesn't it?  Because his words have so devastatingly come true. 
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TWO AMERICAS Print E-mail
Written by Bob Lonsberry   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014

The Democrats are right, there are two Americas.

The America that works, and the America that doesn't. The America that contributes, and the America that doesn't.

It's not the haves and the have nots, it's the dos and the don'ts. Some people do their duty as Americans, to obey the law and support themselves and contribute to society, and others don't.

That's the divide in America. It's not about income inequality, it's about civic irresponsibility. It's about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office. It's about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country.

The politics of envy was on proud display when the president said he would pledge the rest of his term to fighting "income inequality." He notes that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that's not just.

It is the rationale of thievery. The other guy has it, you want it, Obama will take it for you. Vote Democrat.
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THE CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY OF OUR EDUCATION MAFIA Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014

America has problems more urgent than our dreadful schools, but none more serious.  Little contributes more to high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, rising income inequality, poverty and violent crime.

Thirty two million adults -- 14 percent of the population, 19 percent of high school graduates -- can't read, according to a study last year by the U.S. Department of Education

The literacy rate is no better than it was in 2003 and is worse than in 1993.  Of the students who come to his classroom, "only a small fraction have a functioning understanding of written English," said a high school teacher in Oakland, California in 2007.  "They do not know how to form a sentence.  They cannot write an intelligible paragraph."  Even more struggle to make change or balance a checkbook.

It isn't for lack of resources.  Per pupil expenditures were $11,184 in 2009-2010.  This is worse than a tragic misallocation of resources, a gargantuan waste of money.  Ponder the fact that nearly one high school graduate in five is functionally illiterate.  Could there be a more egregious -- or more pernicious -- example of fraud?  

The fraudsters -- Democrat politicians, teacher unions, educrats -- have done more harm than those engaged in other types of organized crime.  They belong in jail, not running our schools.
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THE CRIMINAL FRAUD OF COLLEGE Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 06 February 2014

So enormous has been the harm done by the fraudsters running public K-12 schools, you'd think fraud in higher education couldn't possibly be worse.  You'd be mistaken.

College tuition and fees increased 1,120 percent between 1978 and 2012 -- twice as much as health care, four times as much as the cost of living.

Meanwhile, colleges and universities don't offer curriculums that adequately prepare students for the workforce, said 59 percent of senior executives surveyed by the Adecco Group, a staffing company; 77 percent of senior managers surveyed by Global Strategy Group.

Garbage courses and majors have sprouted like mushrooms on a manure pile. Stanford offers more courses in yoga than in Shakespeare.

 "Core curricula that once discussed the great tradition in literature, art and science have been elbowed offstage by banal courses in feminism, black studies and queer theory," said Stephan Kanfer of the Manhattan Institute.  "The result: students who can spout a line of political correctness designed to dazzle their peers and professors. With that and $1.50 they can get a bus ride downtown to the unemployment offices. "
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HIDING FROM GOVERNMENT Print E-mail
Written by Paul Rosenberg   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014

However it happened, it is now clear that the US spy agencies, and the NSA in particular, have gone off the reservation.

The military-industrial complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned us about has turned inward, and the perps are now us. That may be a bitter pill for many of us to swallow, but it's true just the same.

So, here we are. For most of our lives, we thought it was only criminals who needed to hide from government. Now we find that it's time for the citizens to hide. Sad as that may be, it's something we need to face.

Before I explain how to hide, let me repeat something that a lot of us have said before: We do not hide because our works are criminal, but because we need to protect ourselves from criminal punishments, seizures and prosecutions.

How do we hide and protect ourselves?  Here's how...
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IS THE WORLD HEADED DOWNHILL? Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014

There are many signs that the world may be headed for a new economic slump, or worse. Which countries are best positioned to weather such a downturn and which are not?

Countries that have been fiscally responsible in the recent past are for the most part in better fiscal shape than those that have not, because they have a larger safety cushion.

In the table below, I have ranked countries (the major economies, plus two good examples -- Chile and Switzerland) on three fiscal variables. The first one is the net of their growth rate and deficit for 2013 (i.e., growth rate minus deficit). For most of the major countries, their deficits were greater than their rate of economic growth, giving them a net negative number.

The other variables I listed are government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), and government gross debt as a percentage of GDP. Lower levels of government spending are associated with higher rates of economic growth and vice versa.

So, which countries may make it, and which ones may not?
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THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN THE WORLD Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 07 February 2014

One day at school, a second grade teacher said to the class, "I'll give $5 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived."

A little Irish boy put his hand up and said, "It was St. Patrick." The teacher said, "Sorry Sean, that's not correct."

Then a little Scottish boy put his hand up and said, "It was St. Andrew." The teacher replied, "I'm sorry, Hamish, that's not right either."

Finally, a little Jewish boy raised his hand and said, "It was Jesus Christ."

The teacher said, "That's absolutely right, Marvin. Come up here and I'll give you the $5."

As the teacher was giving Marvin his money, she said, "You know, Marvin, since you're Jewish, I was very surprised you said ‘Jesus Christ'."

Marvin replied...
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HALF-FULL REPORT 01/31/14 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 31 January 2014

Whoa... the response to The TTP Portugal Retreat has been so strong that Rebel and I were compelled to schedule a second one!  And now that's just about filled as well. 

There might be a space or two left on the first one - March 20-25 with a 3-day extension - and a few on the second - April 24-29 with a 3-day extension.  Carpe diem to not miss out coming to sunny, beautiful, historical Portugal with Rebel and me. 

In between these now-two Portugal Retreats, there's The Land of the Dragon's Blood Tree.  This was announced last Monday the 27th - and by today, only five days later, that's almost filled too!  I am truly excited about this.  There is absolutely no place on earth like Socotra.  It is "completely unique on a global scale," as the National Geographic says.

Look at the pictures and see for yourself.  Please don't miss the opportunity to experience one of the most extraordinary places on our planet....

...I considered for an entire femtosecond watching Zero's SOTU Tuesday night (1/28), but decided there were far more productive things to do, such as reorganizing my sock drawer. There was, however, one hilarious moment during this soporific soliloquy.
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THE LAND OF THE DRAGON'S BLOOD TREE Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Monday, 27 January 2014

soc_db5.png

This is the Dragon's Blood Tree, Dracaena cinnabari.  It can be found in only one place on earth, a remote island called a Lost World for its uniqueness, the "most alien-looking place on our planet." 

Yet the Dragon's Blood Tree (named for its bright red sap that has medicinal properties) is only one of over 300 plant species that can be found here and nowhere else - like the Bottle Tree, Dorstenia gigas:

soc_desert_rose2.png

Although it's known as the most alien, strangest, weirdest and bizarre place you can go to in the entire world, it's also completely safe and incredibly beautiful. Anybody who comes here returns saying, "You have to see it to believe it."  That's just what we're going to do.  What is this place?

It's the World Heritage Site of the island of Socotra, the "Galapagos of the Indian Ocean," 240 miles off the coast of Yemen to which it belongs.  It's hidden, remote, and far away - yet we're going to get there (and someplace else that's amazing) from your home and back in one incredibly memorable week.  Ready?  Here we go - and yes, the pictures are real.
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OUR POINTLESS PLODDING PERFUNCTORY PICAYUNE PRESIDENT Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 30 January 2014

President Barack Hussein Obama spoke for 65 minutes Tuesday (1/28) night, but didn't say much.  And hardly anyone in the country paid any attention.  Did you?

State of the Union addresses typically are laundry lists of a president's alleged accomplishments, and of his legislative goals for the coming year.

It's difficult for even the most gifted speechwriters to turn laundry lists into spellbinding oratory.  But this was "the most plodding, enervated and pointless national address of his presidency," said John Podhoretz in the New York Post. 

"Gone is the lyricism for which liberals swooned in 2008 and to a lesser extent in 2012," said Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. "In its place are a list of half-measures and forced anecdotes about Obamacare."  They were "picayune --  high-tech hubs, broadband access for kids, the minimum wage," said Rich Lowry of National Review.

"Is that all there is?" asked Ron Fournier of the National Journal.  The president touched on liberal hot buttons such as gun control and income inequality, but his touch was perfunctory.  This was the most startling passage in the SOTU:
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WHY DOES OBAMA WANT TO BE BLIND ON IRAN? Print E-mail
Written by Michael Ledeen   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is:  an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies. 

The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue.  Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or "dismantle" some of the components of their nuclear program?  How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on...

We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril.  They've already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will.  These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren't getting much.  For us, it's all about nukes and sanctions.

Just take a few of their major actions:
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THE BRICS HIT THE WALL Print E-mail
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Thursday, 30 January 2014

Half the world economy is one accident away from a deflation trap. The emerging market bloc makes up half the world economy, far higher than in any previous crisis. Roughly $4 trillion of foreign funds swept into emerging markets after the Lehman crisis, much of it by then "momentum money" late to the party.

One country after another is now having to tighten into weakness. Neil Shearing from Capital Economics says Brazil, India and Russia are all suffering from the 1970s curse of "stagflation," unable to stimulate their economies to revive growth.

Mr. Shearing said the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are in worse shape than many of the other emerging market states, but the strains are spreading.

While every story is different, the common theme for the BRICS is that they have exhausted their catch-up growth models, let credit booms get out of hand and failed to push through reforms while the going was good. Productivity rates have plummeted almost everywhere.  That most certainly includes China.
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