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Written by Jack Kelly   
Monday, 27 October 2008
When the U.S. economy catches cold, the rest of the world gets pneumonia. That's because much of the wealth of the rest of the world depends on selling stuff to us, and/or on investing in our economy.

The cold we've caught from the subprime mortgage crisis is pretty serious. As of Oct. 22, our stock market was down 40 percent for the year.

But, as the erudite cynic who writes for the Asia Times under the pen name "Spengler" notes, it's a lot worse almost everywhere else.

The financial crisis will push already troubled -- and nuclear armed -- Pakistan further towards radical Islam.  Turkey, heretofore the most peaceful, democratic and pro-Western of Islamic countries, also will drift towards the dark side.

By far the most dangerous wild card is...
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Written by Richard Rahn   
Thursday, 30 October 2008

Does the value of your stock market holdings depend on which party controls Congress? There is overwhelming evidence it does.

As can be seen in the accompanying chart, over the last quarter of a century when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the stock market rose by an average of about 20 percent per year.

When the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the stock market only rose at an average annual rate of 6.9 percent for the Dow Jones and a tepid 5.1 percent for the Standard and Poor 500.
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Written by Richard Rahn   
Monday, 27 October 2008

Have you ever wondered why billionaires like George Soros financially support politicians who say they will "increase taxes on the rich"?

The answer quite simply is that the tax increases are most often put on people trying to become rich, not those already rich. Hence, the rich, big government advocates can gain far more by "buying" the politicians. The "bought" politicians then provide them with confidential information about administrative decisions, which these donors then use to place big bets in the market, making themselves much richer. If you have deep financial pockets and inside information, you can make huge amounts of money when markets drop.

Mr. Soros, the Democrats' financial angel, is often referred to as the "man who broke the bank of England" in the 1992 Sterling crisis. During that episode, he made $1 billion in one day at the expense of British taxpayers. The relevant question is, did Mr. Soros bet a couple of billion dollars on mere guesses of what the German, French and British officials would do, or did he have inside information?

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Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Friday, 31 October 2008

I've talked a lot about the harm you can do to yourself by ruminating: chewing over and over on negative thoughts or fantasies. Every minute you spend ruminating is a minute you could be spending living, doing something that contributes to your life and the lives of others. It's a minute that you could be spending feeling grateful for someone or something. It's a minute you could be spending being happy.

When you ruminate, you are not happy, and you are not practicing anything that will lead to greater happiness.

While this can apply to the past by going over and over hurts or resentments from your personal history, you can also spend hours and hours ruminating about the future - like I've been doing too much lately. Like I'm sure many of you have been doing as well.

We're all worried about the prospects of an Obama presidency. We're worried about what will happen to our economy, to our military, and more fundamentally to the character of America that has been built on the ideals of liberty, individualism, and self-responsibility.

There are glimmers of hope -

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KINDNESS Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Monday, 27 October 2008

When you're anxious, angry, irritated, scared, and troubled, it can be very easy to get caught up in yourself, in your feelings, in your own fantasies and thoughts. Everything about what you're thinking and feeling can seem so much more important; and that's when it can be especially hard to think of other people, the people you love, your friends, the people at work and in your community who you see and interact with every day.

That's also when thinking about those people, and doing things that recognize them and express caring for them can be the very best thing for you to do. Not just for them, or for your community or your relationships, but for your personal well being.

Being kind to other people is one of the actions you can take to reliably and significantly increase your own happiness.

Face it, when you are worrying about the financial crisis, or the potentially tragic political mess we could end up in - unless you are actively involved in solving these problems, or taking actions that will help you and your loved ones weather the storm  - what are you mostly doing but ruminating? This is the worst possible use of your time.

One of the best uses of your time is expressing kindness.

When our kids were little and my brother Mike's kids were teenagers. he told me something that he figured out as a Dad:

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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 23 October 2008

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.  I did it.  I've been searching all over the world for a place suitably appropriate for Barack Hussein Obama Junior's megalomaniacal egomania, and I found it here, deep in the middle of Central Asia.

Here is where he can be worshipped as the Messiah he believes he is, worshipped on a scale beyond even his hyper-hubristic fantasies.  America will never give him what he wants.  Here is a place that can.  Here is where he can be Obamabashi.  Obamabashi the Great, the Supreme, the Magnificent.

Here is where he belongs - not in America.

I'm convinced:  there isn't a better place on earth for Barry Hussein and his followers to move to after he loses on November 4.  It's absolutely perfect for him and them.
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Baku, Azerbaijan. Have you ever tried to go to sleep during fireworks?

It's not easy, but for such occasions I always bring earplugs while traveling (along with other necessities such as a flashlight, duck tape, and a Leatherman tool kit).  I happened to arrive here late at night as the latest phony election was being celebrated.  Fireworks in place of freedom.

Yet however Azerbaijan is a lost backwater on the Caspian for Americans, it has amazing potential to screw things up or make things better not just for this whole part of the world but for us as well.

We need to study the map to understand why:
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Tuesday, 21 October 2008

On a late September day in 1995, I was washing the family station wagon in the driveway of our home in McLean, Virginia, when my wife called out, "Dana's on the phone for you."

Rebel brought me the phone and I heard a familiar voice.  "Hey, Wheeler, there are some Russians coming by my office around four this afternoon - the Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg and his entourage.  You need to be there."

I looked at my watch.  "Dana, it's two o'clock already.  You sure?"

"Well, I don't know anyone who's been to Russia more than you whose opinion I can really trust.  I'd really like you to be here."

How could I turn that down?

I'd known Dana Rohrabacher since we were in Youth For Reagan during Ronald Reagan's first campaign for governor of California in 1966.  Now, almost 30 years later, Dana was a Member of Congress, and on the powerful International Relations Committee.

So I finished up with the car, put on the Washington costume of dark suit and tie, and motored down the George Washington Parkway to DC and Dana's office in the House Rayburn Building.  The meeting went well.  This was the time of Good Feelings between Boris Yeltsin's Russia and America, and there was a camaraderie between us all.

So much so that Dana suggested at the meeting's close, since he had no more meetings scheduled, why don't we all have a beer together at the Irish Times pub on the other side of Capitol Hill?

Beer?  The Russians thought that was a great idea.
Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 23 October 2008

The news media can do investigative reporting when the spirit so moves.  Consider the proctological exam journalists gave Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber," within a day of Sen. John McCain having referred to him in the final presidential debate.

We now know that Joe, 34, does not have a plumber's license and does not belong to the plumbers' union. He's divorced, earned just $40,000 in 2006, and had a tax lien against him.

Joe says he doesn't need a license to do residential work in the two-person firm (A.W. Newell Corp.) for whom he works, because Al Newell has a license.  That's kopasetic within the city of Toledo, but Joe would need a license of his own to do work elsewhere in Lucas County, county officals say.  Only about a third of all plumbers in the U.S. belong to the plumbers' union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Absolutely none of this information is relevant to the question Joe asked when Barack Obama approached him on a rope line in the Toledo suburb of Holland Oct. 12, or to the impolitic answer Sen. Obama gave to it.
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Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Among the first fruits of an Obama presidency will be an international
crisis, his running mate said in Seattle last weekend.

"Mark my words.  It will not be six months before the world tests Barack
Obama like they did John Kennedy," Sen. Joe Biden said at a fund-raiser.

"Watch, we're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to
test the mettle of this guy."

Sen. Obama's response to the crisis may not seem adequate, Sen. Biden said.
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Written by Dagny D'Anconia   
Thursday, 23 October 2008
This seems to be the Age of Hostages: The people of Iraq were held hostage by the cruel Saddam Hussein. The civilians of American cities were effectively held hostage by Al Qaeda.

The most recent hostage situation was the American pension funds being held hostage by the Washington and New York elite. No doubt it was a tempting prize as so many baby boomers approached retirement. The pension coffers were as full as they would ever be.

The following presents a surprisingly accurate and prescient 2007 assessment of the economic situation by two astute comedians:
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Historian Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) remarked that often, history seemed to be "just one damn thing after another."  Anyone who has studied the history of cultures and nations over the last few thousand years can easily get overwhelmed by the constantly recurring episodes of mindless insanity.

This is not metaphorical, nor hyperbolic.  I mean bouts of literal insanity, where entire cultures and nations actually go nuts.  It is not something rare.  Often, it seems the norm.

We Americans like to believe that our country is immune to such historical insanities, but we are not.  Anyone old enough to have experienced the 1960s is well aware of this.  America yet to recover from the cultural and political destruction of the Sixties Radicals. 

And so we come to the insanity of Barack Hussein Obama. 

Let's dispense with all the blather and get to the bottom of it:  anyone with a 3-digit IQ (2 digits means mentally defective) and loves America who is even considering voting to place his country's national security and economy in this man's hands should be institutionalized.  He or she is clinically crazy and a public health hazard.

Again, this is no exaggeration.  This man's candidacy is insane, no ifs or buts.  So the only question right now is, is this a spasm of insanity from which a majority of American voters will recover in time, or not?

If the former, then all his incredible inadequacies, all the incredible associations with hate-America racists and terrorists, all the incredible vote fraud by the Communists of ACORN, on and on and on and endlessly on, will finally register with voters who will sweep him into the dustbin of history.

If the latter, then my greatest personal fear will come true.
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Tbilisi, Georgia.  It's a beautiful morning here in Georgia, and there's not a Russian soldier in sight.  I could find them easily enough if I went looking for them over at the "border" with South Ossetia and Abkahzia, but here in the capital of Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia, they are nowhere to be seen.

Georgians are surprisingly unafraid of Russia inflicting its traditional role of barbarian invader upon them.  There are several reasons, one of which is the videos of Russian troops they've been seeing on Georgian television.

Russian soldiers are so ill-equipped many are wearing cheap tennis shoes.  They are so ill-fed they have to steal food from villagers, so hungry they eat fruit so unripe and meat so spoiled it makes them violently sick.

There is a surreptitiously-taken video of Russian soldiers ransacking a Georgian military barracks, stealing used socks (many of them have no socks), even used (!) toothbrushes, and carting off toilet commodes to sell back in Russia.

"It's really hard to take soldiers who have to steal used toothbrushes seriously," one Georgian friend told me. 

Thus the discussion here is less on what the impact of Russia's invasion will be on Georgia, and more on what the impact will be on Russia.
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1958: A KNIFE EDGE IN THE SKY Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008

It was a rainy Saturday morning in March.  I was 14 years old and bored out of my mind with nothing to do.  Stuck indoors, I stared through the rain-splattered window of my room and sighed.  My eyes wandered to the bookshelf nearby, and fell on a book that a friend of my father's had given me some time ago as a present.

It had remained ignored and unopened, attracting dust rather than my attention, until now.  The spine of the glossy book jacket proclaimed its title - The Complete Book of Marvels.  What was that about?  The author was Richard Halliburton.  Who was he?

I reached for the book, and my life was changed forever.

Our home was in a prosaic suburb of Los Angeles - Glendale, California.  Like most other kids, I knew very little about the world.  America was an enormous island, with the rest of the world on the other side of huge oceans, far away.

The inside of the book jacket told me that Halliburton had been a famous adventurer in the 1920s and ‘30s.  The book was 20 years old, and was a compilation of his exploits and experiences.  As I paged through the descriptions and black-and-white pictures of dozens of the world's most extraordinary places, I was transfixed. The world, it dawned on me, was a vast place of endless wonders and adventures.

What mesmerized me in particular was Halliburton's account of climbing the Matterhorn. I stared at his picture of the Matterhorn, entitled "The Tiger of the Alps," for the longest time. Then, as if I were in a trance, I found myself getting up from the chair in my room and walking down the hall to my parents' room, where I found my Dad in his easy chair, reading an Erle Stanley Gardner detective novel.

He looked up at me, waiting for me to say something.  I laid the Halliburton book over the Gardner book on his lap, open to the double-spread picture of the Matterhorn.  He looked down at the picture, then looked back up, still waiting.  I didn't consciously say anything.  I pointed at the picture and heard myself say, "Dad, I want to climb that mountain."
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Written by Jack Kelly   
Saturday, 18 October 2008
In last week's column, I wrote that Sen. Obama had written a dust jacket blurb for ex-Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers' memoir, "Fugitive Days."  This is not true.  Sen. Obama's praise was for an earlier book by Mr. Ayers, "A Kind and Just Parent," published in 1997.
I'm putting this correction at the beginning of this column rather than at the end as is customary because I am mortified by my mistake, and I don't want it to become a part of Internet lore.

There is enough misinformation out there already.

On Oct. 11, veteran civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis compared John McCain and Sarah Palin to segregationist George Wallace.

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