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BARACK THE SHADOW BOXER Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 21 February 2008

Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson had an embarrassing moment the night the candidate he is supporting for president won the Wisconsin primary.  MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked him to name a legislative accomplishment of Sen. Barack Obama.

"I'm not going to be able to do that tonight," Mr. Watson replied.

Or any other night.  Barack Obama, noted National Review's David Frum, has the thinnest resume of any candidate for president since William Jennings Bryan in 1896. 

Then 36 (the youngest man ever nominated for president), Bryan had been a congressman for only six undistinguished years when, on July 9, he electrified the Democratic convention in Chicago with his Cross of Gold speech.

"Men and women screamed," wrote one eyewitness reporter, and "like demented things, divested themselves of their coats and flung them high in the air."  He won the nomination the next day.

Bryan got creamed in the general election, which suggests there is a limit to how high a populist with little on his resume besides a charismatic personality and a silver tongue can rise.
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HOPE FOR IRAQ IN DENMARK Print E-mail
Written by Michael Ledeen   
Friday, 22 February 2008

I'm in Denmark this week as an observer at an Iraqi "reconciliation conference" that has brought nearly two dozen political and religious leaders to Copenhagen. It's a fascinating group.

The clerics range from Sunnis and Shiites to members of little-known pre-Islamic sects like the Yezidis (who seem to be historically linked to the Zoroastrians) and the Mandaeans (the central figure of whose faith is John the Baptist), all of whom have suffered ghastly depredations in the terror war following the defeat of Saddam Hussein.

Political figures include National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubayie, who spent a long and intense day here on Tuesday (2/19), and remains in close contact as the participants try to hammer out a collective document.

It's probably sheer coincidence that this conference takes place at the moment General Petraeus is expressing considerable hope for reconciliation, and his statement that Iraqis need to shout instead of shoot is very much in the forefront of the discussions here.
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PUBLIC EDUCATION AND HIGHER TAXES Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Friday, 22 February 2008

Why do individuals and countries engage in self-destructive behavior? Many books have been written on the topic, but given the U.S. election campaign, it is worth examining why some politicians and other opinion leaders advocate policies contrary to both good theory and empirical evidence.

Despite this evidence of success, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to increase the top tax rates, though there is no evidence that raising the top rates will result in any more revenue but there is evidence it will result in slower growth.

They can get away with it because voters have had their brains mangled by public education.

Since education in almost all countries these days is chiefly in public institutions, except for relatively small numbers of students educated in U.S. private schools and universities, it should come as no surprise that the government employees doing the "educating" are biased toward the public sector and are anti-business.
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WHAT ARE CONSERVATIVES TRYING TO CONSERVE? Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Friday, 22 February 2008

People on the left think of conservatives as stodgy, bigoted, selfish, mean, uncaring, money-grubbing fat cats trying to slow down the progressive agenda of the left; people on the right sometimes see themselves as nothing more than glorified handbrakes, standing athwart history yelling "STOP!"

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is from the French Revolution of course that we get the terminology of left and right. The left were the future murderous radicals of the Reign of Terror, too impatient for change to wait for persuasion and reason to sort things out; the right were those like Thomas Paine whose vision was along the lines of the American Revolution, building a structure of laws and a restraint on power to guide their passion for liberty.

The left has continued to follow this historical template ever since - witness Obama's push for change, and his wife informs us that, "Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed." The left will make you change... or else.

What about the right?  What is it exactly that we conservatives are trying to conserve?
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A CONGRESSMAN'S FAVORITE BAR JOKE Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 22 February 2008

This is a tad risqué but since a Congressman told it to me (whose name will go unmentioned, although I can tell you he's a Republican), I can't resist sharing it with you. ---JW

A fellow walks into a bar with a dog.  He sits on a stool at the bar and his dog hops onto the stool next to him.  "Bartender," he calls out, "I'll have a scotch and soda, and a beer in a bowl for my dog."

The bartender walks up and says incredulously, "Are you out of your mind?  We don't serve dogs in here!"

The guy looks at the bartender condescendingly.  "Bartender, you don't understand.  This is Harry the Talking Dog."

Harry looks at the bartender with a low growl.  "That's right, I'm Harry the Talking Dog," he says.  "Now gimme a beer!"
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MCCAIN AS THE ANTI-REAGAN Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 14 February 2008

It's going to take a while for conservatives to become fully resigned to John McCain's securing the Republican presidential nomination.

They may never be if he does some incredibly dumb thing like picking a Preacher Socialist - Mike Huckabee - as his running mate, or his supporters continue to demonize conservative heroes like Rush Limbaugh for not genuflecting at the saintly image of Sir Galahad McCain.

No Knight of King Arthur's Round Table, like Sir Galahad who McCain pretends to be, possessed "a strutting self-righteousness... that goes hand in hand with a nitroglycerin temper."  That memorably accurate description of John McCain by Mona Charen explains why McCain is the Anti-Reagan.

Aside from Ronald Reagan the politician, statesman, or political conservative, Ronald Reagan the human being was someone of great-hearted likeability.  It was almost impossible to dislike him.  The contrast is stark.  It is almost impossible to actually like, to be genuinely fond of John McCain because at the bottom of his character he is an insufferable jerk.

Because of his essential unlikeableness, McCain cannot create conservative passion for him.  This truth will outrage the McCainiacs, who will thus angrily blame his loss in November upon conservatives.  But as anyone should know on this Valentine's Day, you can't force someone to love you.

You've got to entice them instead.  You don't angrily stomp your feet and call them deranged if they don't love you.  There's no bigger turn-off than that.
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THE HALF-FULL REPORT Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 15 February 2008

You know the old glass half-empty/half-full perspective.  Whenever it's mentioned I always think of Dennis Turner

Many years ago, we were having a discussion whether the future of freedom was bright or bleak.  Arguing for the former, I mentioned Reason Magazine's "Trends" feature, which itemized recent pro-freedom developments.

Dennis instantly responded, "Yes, but it's mis-named.  It should be called "Anomalies."

But we are not eternal pessimists here at To The Point.  We aren't naïvely Pollyannic either, but are instead rationally optimistic, always on the look out for opportunities and solutions instead of being bummed out on dangers and problems.

And we'd like you to participate in the hunt.  So we are instituting the TTP Half-Full Report.
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WHAT A BEACH PARTY! Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 14 February 2008

sarasota_sunset

Sunset on the beach at Sarasota, Florida, with good friends and an adult beverage.  Can't beat that, especially when those friends are fellow TTPers.  All of us sure did have a good time.  Here's a synopsis of what we did and what we learned.
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JW ON YOUTUBE: THE ISLAMIZATION OF EUROPE Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Thursday, 14 February 2008

While at the Sarasota Rendezvous, Brussels Journal webmaster Luc Van Braekel videoed Jack Wheeler holding forth on the Islamization of Europe while walking on the beach.  Luc then posted it on YouTube.

It was spontaneous and unprepared, so be prepared for Jack to unload on Europe.  It won't make him many friends among the Euroweenies.

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THE FOUR GOVERNMENT-CAUSED REASONS FOR OUR ECONOMIC MESS Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Friday, 15 February 2008

How much money would the government have to give you and every other American to avoid a recession? You cannot answer because the question contains a false conclusion, and when political arguments are about false conclusions, the wrong policies are pursued.

To try to reverse the current economic slowdown, one first must understand the real causes and then try to correct those causes. Many in Congress, the administration, and the Fed have misdiagnosed the problem and then given the wrong medicine -AKA "the stimulus package."

There are four government-caused reasons why Washington remains "stuck on stupid" regarding the economy.
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BACK IN THE USSR Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Ariel Cohen   
Friday, 15 February 2008

If Yogi Berra happens to be in Moscow this coming May 9, we know what he'd say:  "Looks like déjà vu all over again."

On that day, heavy military equipment will once again roll down Moscow's Red Square for the Victory Day military parade. Tanks, missiles, and 6,000 troops will be joined overhead by fighter aircraft and military helicopters. The last time Moscow saw such a display of military hardware was November 1990, before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The parade is designed to generate nostalgia among the Russian people and to signal the U.S., NATO members and Russia's neighbors that Russia's power is back. It also illustrates President Vladimir Putin's emphasis on the military and security services at the expense of modern, democratic institutions.
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WHERE AL QAEDA IS EVEN LESS POPULAR THAN NANCY PELOSI Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 15 February 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared again on CNN's "Late Edition" program Sunday (2/10) that the troop surge in Iraq is a failure.

Ms. Pelosi's timing was unfortunate for what shreds remain of her credibility.  Her statement coincided with the release by U.S. forces in Iraq Saturday (2/09) of the diary of Abu Tariq, an al Qaeda leader around the northern city of Balad. The diary was captured in a raid in November.  It apparently had been written the month before.

Abu Tariq once had nearly 600 fighters under his command, but his force has dwindled to no more than 20.  The chief reason for this, he wrote, was the decision of most Sunni tribes to throw in with the Americans.
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WILL HILLARY'S FATE BE DECIDED IN WISCONSIN? Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 15 February 2008

I never thought I'd feel sorry for Hillary Clinton.  The truth is I don't.  But I'm grateful to her for removing a stigma from the guy I wanted to be president, Rudy Giuliani.  We have many months yet to go in this presidential election cycle, but already it's becoming notorious for whopping misjudgments. 

Until recently, the stigma for having run the worst campaign in modern history seemed to be a dead heat between my guy Rudy for forsaking the earlier contests to focus on Florida, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson who thought he could win the GOP nomination from his hammock. 

But Hillary Clinton is overtaking them.  How does one go from being the "inevitable" nominee of the Democratic party to a rapidly sinking underdog?  It helps to have a charismatic opponent like Sen. Barack Obama, and to not be very charismatic yourself.  But most of Hillary's wounds are self inflicted.
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THE CAUCUS A LAST BASTION OF SELF-DETERMINATION Print E-mail
Written by John Nehring   
Friday, 15 February 2008

Unless you live in one of the 17 states that still use the caucus as part of the political nominating process, your knowledge of that institution is likely limited to Iowa caucus reports on the news.  Yet the caucus plays a broader, important role in our presidential nominating process. 

In states that have retained or returned to the caucus - such as my state of Colorado - every election year sees a spirited debate over the merits and demerits of the caucus system.  The young lady who cuts my hair, a staunch conservative Republican, expresses the negative viewpoint as well as anyone. 

She doesn't like the caucus system because it excludes too many people.  To prove her point, I suppose, she self-excluded herself by not attending the caucus in our precinct, despite my strong encouragement to do so!

Our local Republican Party treasurer, on the other hand, champions the caucuses because they're the only place the average voter can actually participate in debates on issues and candidates and have those debates translate into meaningful action.

I myself like the caucus system for an entirely different reason.
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WHY AMERICANS LOVES AUSSIES Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 15 February 2008

When an Aussie fellow boarded his Qantas flight from London to Sydney, he found himself sitting next to a full-bearded Moslem man in a robe and turban.  "G'day, mate!" the Aussie greeted him.  "Name's Trevor."

The Moslem stared at him with his coal-black eyes.  "I am Imam Sheikh Emir Abdullah Mullah bin Badullah," he replied coldly.

After takeoff, the stewardess pulled her beverage cart down the aisle to ask the Aussie with a sunny smile what he would like to drink.

"I'll have a double rum and coke," was the Aussie's answer.  The stewardess quickly poured it, placed it on Trevor's tray, and asked the Moslem if he would like a drink as well.

He replied in disgust...
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