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THE MANY WAYS TO BRIBE POLITICIANS Print E-mail
Written by Dagny D'Anconia   
Sunday, 15 July 2007

We hear Harry Reid say "I believe myself that ... this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday." [1]  We see him doing everything in his power to aid and encourage our enemies, yet we hesitate to call him a traitor. 

We call it an honest difference of opinion between fellow Americans.  After all, if he were a traitor, wouldn't we have found suitcases of money, and bank accounts with checks from Arab sources? 

What you need to know is that it really is very easy to secretly bribe public officials, and all this hoopla about effective campaign finance reform is just nonsensical window dressing.  The disastrous McCain-Feingold legislation doesn't even scratch the surface of the undetectable bribery and influence peddling possibilities available.

Only real fools like Congressman Cold Cash Jefferson are stupid enough to keep cash in their freezer.  Murtha and Pelosi have also been partly exposed because of their foolishness, and because they are drunk with power.  Consider what a fool Duke Cunningham was played to be.  Unfortunately only the idiots get caught while the moderately smart ones have a free hand. 

There are numerous other ways to accept bribes which are undetectable.
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HOW TO RUIN A PARADISE… AND TO SAVE ONE Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 13 July 2007

Picture an idyllic beach on a tropical island.  The water is an intensely pure cobalt blue, gentle waves softly foaming upon the sugar soft sand.  People are picnicking under the coconut palm trees that line the beach, children are happily playing, it's 75 degrees and sunny, the azure sky dotted with puffy little clouds.

The beach is set in a small cove, and built along the rocks on one side of the cove are picturesque little homes of the local villagers, whose livelihood is fishing.  A number of them are doing just that in their outrigger dugout canoes a few hundred yards offshore.  With the clear sky, you know it's going to be a spectacular sunset.  Then you'll have fresh fish for dinner, caught by one of those fellows in the outriggers.

Paradise, no doubt about it, you think.  Then you notice those picturesque homes are all in a state of filth and decay, even though they are lived in.  The beach is littered with tires and other refuse.  Under the swaying palms are vast piles of garbage and trash.

In fact, everywhere you go on the island, along every road (which have more potholes than pavement), in every village and town, there's trash and litter.  Not dumps of garbage, but the villages and roadsides are garbage dumps of plastic bags, foil wrappings, pieces of cardboard boxes, trash, trash, trash every place you look.  The whole island, it seems, is one big garbage dump.

Welcome to the Comoros. 

More precisely, the Union of the Comoros, a prime candidate for the world's most screwed-up country and object lesson for how to ruin paradise.

So settle in your favorite chair with a glass of your favorite beverage (with refills at the ready), and let me tell you a true mind-blow of a weird adventure story about a lost corner of the world you never heard of.

Yet in this tiny remote spot, we can also learn how to deal with illegal aliens, how to have a peaceful and tolerant Islam, and how to save a paradise instead of wrecking it.
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THE NEXT WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 13 July 2007

This Monday (7/16), the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to take up a report from Secretary General Ban Ki Moon which recommends the UN act to reduce the flow of arms from Syria to Hezbollah.

That same day or next, the Security Council also is expected to receive a report from its International Investigation Commission about the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which most Lebanese believe was orchestrated by Syria.

How will Syria respond? Here's a clue:

The Iranian news agency IRNA and several Arab newspapers have reported Syria has ordered all Syrian nationals residing in Lebanon to leave the country before Monday.
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STAGE MANAGEMENT Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Wednesday, 11 July 2007

One great paradox about happiness is that, while pursuing happiness is a supreme act of self-interest and self-love, happiness is not to be attained through self-absorption or self-centeredness.

Indeed, if you want to deliberately make yourself depressed or anxious, a good first step would be to absorb yourself in, even wallow in, your own emotions, thoughts, and judgments - particularly regarding the many ways the world and the people in it are not serving your personal wants, desires, and vision of how it should be.

As I have said before, when you ruminate, when you absorb yourself in feelings and thoughts over and over, you will probably find that you are going over and over things about which you have little or no control. Doing this intensifies your feelings of helplessness, which will lead fairly predictably to feelings of unhappiness or depression and/or anxiety.

What is needed in order to counter this sort of harmful self-absorption is...
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TO THE POINT SUMMER RENDEZVOUS: AN INVITATION Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Tuesday, 10 July 2007

To: Members & Friends of To The Point
From:  Dr. Jack Wheeler

 I would like to cordially invite you to attend our To The Point Summer Rendezvous to be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado from Friday August 24th to Sunday August 26th.

Our Rendezvous in Las Vegas last February was such a success that no one wanted to wait an entire year for another.  

This is not a conference.  It is a rendezvous, a gathering of members of To The Point for the purpose of their spending time with each other.  It is an opportunity for TTPers to meet and talk with me - and vice versa! - and with other TTP contributors such as Joel Wade, Jack Kelly, and Dagny D'Anconia.

In other words, this is a family affair, a gathering of the TTP Family.  If you were at the Vegas Rendezvous, you know what I mean.  TTPers share a common bond, a set of shared values that makes their being together intensely enjoyable. 

That's the best description I can give for what you'll experience at the Summer Rendezvous:  intensely enjoyable.

To make this possible is taking a lot of effort on the part of To The Point's General Manager, Miko Reyes, and a number of TTPers who have so kindly volunteered to assist him.

That's because I'm writing this from Antanananrivo (Tana for short), the capital of Madagascar.  So Miko has to try and put everything together while I'm in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  That's not easy.

Like the Vegas Rendezvous, this is "Dutch Treat" where everyone pays their own costs and nothing is added on.  There will be range of places to stay from costly (like the Broadmoor) to not (like the Best Western).  Whatever the costs are for dinners and activities, we'll all share.

We'll start with a reception and dinner Friday evening the 24th.  A "Pre-Rendezvous" tour of the Air Force Academy that afternoon may be arranged.

Saturday, we'll hike and picnic in the spectacular and nearby Garden of the Gods.  Then we'll gather again for another evening of dinner and friends.

After Sunday brunch, we'll head back home, our heads overloaded with new perspectives and heightened grasp of what is going on in our world - and with friendships you'll treasure.

To participate in the Summer Rendezvous, please contact Miko immediately at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it .

Only fifty - 50 - TTPers may attend.  That's right, just 50.

I should mention that all those attending will receive a free one-year To The Point membership, or have their current membership extended one full year.

I really hope I see you at our Summer Rendezvous.  Please let Miko know if you can join us.

Jack Wheeler

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A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Sunday, 08 July 2007

Marco Polo (1254-1324) knew where the end of the world was.  He never went there but he heard about it.  It was a "great red island" in the vast unknown sea far to the south of India, and it had a strange name:  Madagascar.

Although near Africa, folks here - known as Malagasy - are not from Africa.  They came from Indonesia 2,000 years ago.  For a thousand years they lived in isolation from the world. Then strangers started appearing on their northern coast calling themselves "Moslems."

The Malagasy wanted no part of them or their strange and offensive religion.  Persians ("Shirazis" from Shiraz) and Arabs were sailing in their dhows down the east coast of Africa enslaving and Islamizing as they went.  But when they crossed the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar, they discovered people very different from Africans.

Arabs had found the islands of Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, etc.) easy Islamic pickings for converts.  Somehow, the converts' distant relatives weren't.  This is an important mystery.

Ever since they invented Islam, Arabs have forced their religion upon peoples throughout the world, most of the time with little or no resistance.  The exceptions are among people who have a competing religion like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.  It's very hard to think of any place without a strong competing religion already in place that resisted Islam.

Madagascar is that place.  That's one reason it is a light at the end of the world.
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FREEDOM’S BIRTHDAY 2007 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Tuesday, 03 July 2007

[This was originally in To The Point for July 4, 2004. This is the version for 2007.  We at To The Point wish all of you an exceedingly happy Fourth of July.]

July 4th is Freedom's Birthday. My suggestion is, amidst the fireworks and barbeques and flag-waving fun - all of which are great - that you take the time to feel good about America.

You travel around the world and you see the remnants of history's great civilizations. You walk through the preserved wreckage of Rome's Imperial Forum or the Acropolis of Ancient Athens and you wonder -- what was it really like to be here when these civilizations were at their peak? You can do that today in Washington DC -- or your hometown.

We Americans are privileged to live in one of history's supreme moments. We Americans are participants in one of history's greatest civilizations in its prime.

Someday in some future epoch, history will have moved on, and there will be distant centuries between that time and the American Era. People will then look upon America as we do upon ancient Egypt or Greece, and will do so with same wonder and awe.

I suggest you look upon America with that wonder and awe now.

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AMERICA WILL PREVAIL Print E-mail
Written by Lawrence Mead   
Tuesday, 03 July 2007

[In celebration of the Fourth of July, To The Point is pleased to provide this transcript of a lecture given by Dr. Lawrence Mead, Professor of Politics at New York University, delivered in Sydney, Australia on July 1st]

To read the newspapers, one would believe US power was in steep decline. There are prophets of error, the many critics who believe US foreign policy has gone seriously wrong, especially in Iraq.

And there are prophets of weakness, such as Yale historian Paul Kennedy, who wrote even before the end of the Cold War that the US had succumbed to "imperial overstretch". How much more are we overstretched today when we face crises in three or four places across the globe?

I am skeptical about these arguments. The great fact is that the US has become a dominant nation. Even if the US fails in Iraq, there still is no other country that can replace the US in dealing with the world's problems.

We have in fact returned to a world order similar to the late Victorian period, at the end of the 19th century. Then, as now, the world economy was globalizing and English was its lingua franca. Britain was the strongest single country and the US was just becoming a world power.

Today, the US is first and Britain is second, but remarkably little else has changed. It is as if the 20th century, with its calamitous wars and ideological conflict, has faded away. The countries that challenged the Anglos - first Germany, then Russia, then Japan - have all fallen back. The US's challengers, such as China and India, are likely to fall back as well.

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DEMOCRATS ARE OUTRAGED! THAT’S RICH… Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Wednesday, 04 July 2007

"Scooter" Libby will serve as much time in prison for lying under oath to a federal grand jury as Bill Clinton served for lying under oath to a federal grand jury.

Democrats in Congress were outraged.  "As Independence Day nears, we are reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under law," said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.  "This commutation completely tramples on that principle."  

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. said President Bush should be impeached for "crimes against the Constitution of the United States."

That's rich, as in Marc Rich, the financier who fled the country to avoid prosecution for tax evasion, fraud and "trading with the enemy."  On his last day in office, President Clinton pardoned Mr. Rich after his ex-wife, Denise (with whom Mr. Clinton reportedly had been sleeping) donated $1 million to the Democratic party and $10,000 to the Clintons' legal defense fund.

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DENNIS THE WIZARD Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Sunday, 01 July 2007

This is sad tidings.  When I returned from the Serengeti, I learned that on Friday, June 22, Dennis Turner, my friend of over 40 years and author of TTP's Dennis The Wizard column, passed away.

Dennis had been in horrible pain and suffering for so long that his passing was likely a blessing.  He never mentioned it in his columns, and how he wrote them in spite of it was heroic. 

Some years ago, he contracted an infection in his spine which caused a progressive deterioration of his spinal nerves.  He lost the use of his legs, and then all the functions of his digestive system. 

Few of us can even imagine what it is to try and continue living like that.  Yet Dennis did.  He persevered, maintaining a wide range of interests and a dense network of friends.  He never lost his intense intellectual curiosity and passion for life.
 
His was a mind apart.  Not surprising -- for he was a six-foot-two, 280-pound Mongolian Jew with an IQ of 180. 

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CULTURAL INTEGRITY AND TRUST Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Sunday, 01 July 2007

I have written before in WHAT MAKES A GOOD SOCIETY about the importance of social capital - the capacity to trust one's neighbors, one's community, and one's culture, and the kind of involvement in one's community that helps to build and sustain that trust and the relationships it is built on.

While in the United States most other measures of happiness have increased tremendously over the past several decades, social capital has not. A new study may help to explain why.
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AFRICAN BLIZZARD Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 29 June 2007

Maseru, Lesotho, Southern Africa
My son Jackson and I arrived here in a snow storm.  It soon became a raging blizzard.  Inches of snow, accidents all over the place, for most people here (they all belong to a tribe called Basotho) have never seen snow, much less know how to drive in it.

An African blizzard may seem a joke, but that southern Africa is suffering through one of its coldest winters isn't.  (Remember that it's winter now below the Equator.)

It's just another one of the blizzard of problems that a place like Lesotho (luh-soo-too) is enduring, none of which is a laughing matter. In fact, There's no way around it, for Lesotho's fate is baked in the demographic cake.  Lesotho is doomed.  The real African Blizzard is going to sweep it away.

What a tragedy - for it had such a heroic start in the 19th century...

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MOSQUES ON THE RHINE Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 28 June 2007

You disappear into the African bush for over two weeks, only to emerge back into the world to discover everything's the same. 

Bush is still commiserating over the dead horse of the immigration, people with 2-digit IQs are still paying attention to Paris Hilton, Palestinians are still killing each other in Gaza, Moslems are rioting around the world over some perceived insult to their religion of intolerance (in this case, the knighting of Salmon Rushdie by Queen Elizabeth), and good news from Iraq is not being reported.

What really got my attention, though, was a news bulletin from Cologne, Germany.

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COLOMBIAN BLOOD AND DRUGS ON DEMOCRATS' HANDS Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

If you were a member of the U.S. Congress and you wanted to hand a victory to Fidel Castro, his buddy Hugo Chavez, and the international drug gangs, you could do so by voting to reject the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

And that is precisely what the Democrat leaders of Congress threaten to do.

After the truly heroic achievements of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in weakening drug lords and corrupt officials, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some of her colleagues were downright rude to him during his trip to Washington last month, with their demands for more. Yet Mr. Uribe and his colleagues are under constant death threats for their efforts (Mr. Uribe's own father was assassinated by the left-wing terrorists).

How many of Mrs. Pelosi's tribe do you think would have taken the physical risks and have been as effective as Mr. Uribe? Regarding corruption in Mr. Uribe's own ranks, as far as I know, no Colombian member of parliament has been caught with $90,000 of someone else's money in his freezer.

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IF NAPOLEON SCRATCHED A LIBERAL, HE’D FIND… Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

PBS is the beau ideal of many liberals when it comes to free speech.  Their point of view is subsidized by the taxpayers.  Other points of view are suppressed.

Now in yet another triumph for the liberal view of free speech (free for me but not for thee), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled city officials may override the First Amendment if the exercise of free speech by some city employees offends the delicate sensibilities of liberals.

Liberal intolerance of other than liberal opinions is behind efforts to reinstate the inaptly named "Fairness Doctrine" in radio.

I see this every day at the very liberal newspaper where I work.  Conservatives often write angry letters to the editor, criticizing the arguments made in an editorial, or what they perceive as the slant in a news story.  Liberals unhappy with my columns often demand that I be fired.  They object not just to my point of view, but to the fact that it was expressed. 

To paraphrase Napoleon...

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