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WHAT SECRET SERVICE AGENTS SAY ABOUT PRESIDENTS AND FIRST LADIES Print E-mail
Written by Ron Kessler   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014

I'm Ron Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.

This week, we celebrated something called "Presidents Day."  I thought you might enjoy the most revealing comments the many Secret Service agents I interviewed made regarding the Presidents and First Ladies they protected.  They are all quotes from my book.

We start with John and Jacqueline Kennedy and end with Barack and Michelle Obama.  Here is what Secret Service agents actually think of them.
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HOW TO WORRY EFFECTIVELY Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014

All of us think about what's going to happen in the future.  The more accurately we can estimate what is likely to happen, the more effective we can be in navigating the course ahead.

There is a downside, however. Since we can anticipate what may happen in the future, this also allows us to worry about the future. And we tend to give our imaginations more credit than they deserve.

Anticipating events to come so that we can take effective action is invaluable. But worry is a different animal; worry is what we do when we don't know what to do, when we don't have enough information, or when events are outside of our control.  Here's how to worry more effectively.
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UNDERSTANDING OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY Print E-mail
Written by Michael Ledeen   
Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I don't think it's hard to understand Obama's foreign policy.  Although there's a lot we don't know about him, his basic impulses are clear enough.  He's told us what they are (although, to be sure, he often misleads and obfuscates), and his actions are in keeping with his announced impulses. 

Furthermore, there's nothing unique or surprising about them - you can hear them in our classrooms and our college dorms, and read them in the establishment press every day.  He's an establishment member in high standing.

Voilá: He believes that most of the serious problems in the world are the result of past American actions.  Call it imperialism.  Call it meddling.  Call it arrogance (as the Iranians do).  Whatever you call it, it means that pre-Obama policies were bad.

Ergo, it's mostly Bush's fault. (Shorthand for "before me, they didn't understand.  Anything.")  It follows that the single most important action to ensure good policies is...
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THE PURPOSE OF A BUSINESS IS NOT TO PAY TAXES Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Among the general public, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and their lesser known younger sibling, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), have reputations far exceeding their actual achievements.

The OECD was originally set up as an organization to promote trade among the developed countries and to build statistical databases. It has now morphed into an organization whose principal goal appears to be the collection of more taxes for its member governments.

Last week, Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the OECD, said it was the "duty" of international companies to stop employing tax-reduction strategies -- aiming some of his comments directly at Apple and Google.

Mr. Gurria seems to think the purpose of business is to pay taxes. Not so. The purpose of a business is...
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NOT EVEN A SMIDGEN OF CORRUPTION Print E-mail
Written by Ramirez   
Friday, 21 February 2014

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HALF-FULL REPORT 02/14/14 Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 14 February 2014

The big news this week was the announcement by our caudillo-in-chief that for the 27th time, he's going to make a unilateral change in Obamacare.  This is both outrageous and amusing.
* * * *
Firms must certify to the IRS that ObamaCare was not and is not a factor in their staffing decisions, even though it is obvious that many employers of economic necessity are trimming staff and reducing hours due to the burden of ObamaCare's mandates.  Call this Omertacare, says Jim Taranto of the Wall Street Journal.
* * * *
It was jump the shark week for Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who told the Dallas Morning News Tuesday that hey, maybe she could support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. 
* * * *
The director of the Obamacare health exchange in Colorado has been placed on administrative leave after she pled guilty in a U.S. District Court in Montana Feb. 6 to eight counts of theft and fraud from a nonprofit housing agency in Billings.
* * * *
Guess what CBS blames for the cold spell we've been having.
* * * *
The hero of the week is is Billy Heroman of Heroman's Flowers in Louisiana who says - the IRS be damned - he's cutting jobs because of Obamacare.
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THE NSA'S ACHILLES HEEL? Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 13 February 2014

I have to keep this short as I'm soon boarding a very long flight to China.  Jack Kelly will be manning the HFR ramparts while I'm gone, but I have to tell you this now.

The story starts with an obscure state politician representing District 67 of the Utah House of Representatives named Marc Roberts.  If you look at that official state government website, you won't see anything unusual.

Like most pols, he also has his own site: marcroberts67.com.  How many elected politicians start their site off with a quote from Bastiat's The Law?  Followed by a statement of commitment to State Sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment?

Yet it's not Roberts' words that are most interesting, however, it's what he is doing.  He may have found the Achilles' Heel of the NSA.

You may have heard of the gigantic $1.5 billion, one million square-foot date collection center the NSA is building in Bluffdale, Utah called Bumblehive.  It will require 1.7 million gallons of water a day to cool the massive NSA computers spying on all of us.  Roberts knows how to cut off the water supply.
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THE MESSIAH AND THE LEPER Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Tobin   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014

With no prospects for a successful legislative agenda in Congress and even his talk of governing by executive order not impressing either friends or foes, President Barack Hussein Obama seems to be drifting inexorably toward lame-duck status.

But there is no better indication of just how politically toxic Obama has become than the rumblings that came out of last week's meeting between the president and Senate Democrats. As Politico reports, the White House has agreed to stay out of most of the key races that will decide whether Democrats retain control of the Senate this year.  

In 2008, Obama was a Messiah.  In 2014, Obama is now a Leper.  To an increasing number of Democrats.  Here's why.
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WE'RE A BANANA REPUBLIC WITH A CAUDILLO PRESIDENCY Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

All of us screw up from time to time.  But it's hard to imagine how anyone else could screw up anything else as badly as Obama and the Democrats have screwed up health care.

Democrats may have believed Obamacare would do the things they promised when they rammed it through in the middle of the night of March 21, 2010. But it's clear now it does much more harm than good.

Which President Obama in effect acknowledged Tuesday (2/11) when he said he'll put off until 2016 enforcement of the "employer mandate" for small businesses with 99 or fewer employees.  This is the 27th time he's unilaterally delayed a provision of the law, which he has no legal authority to do.

So much for the Democrat claim Obamacare is "settled law."

This is banana republic stuff, for which he ought to be impeached.  No president has the right to cherry pick what laws - or portions of laws - he'll enforce, or to say some Americans needn't obey them.
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THE AIR FORCE'S PROBLEM IS BIGGER THAN THE F-22 VS. THE F-35 Print E-mail
Written by Joe Katzman   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

In last week's Half-Full Report (see the section on Debbie Does USAF), Jack asked me to comment about America's F-22A Raptor and F-35A/B/C Lightning II fighters.  Namely: if the F-22 Raptor was the better fighter, why was it canceled in favor of the F-35?

Both fighters sit at the nexus of some pretty big assumptions and questions about US air power in the next few decades, so it's hard to give a brief answer, but I'm going to try.

In brief: Yes, the F-22 is a much better fighter than the F-35. Indeed, it remains the best fighter in the world by a wide margin. The flip side is that it can't perform some roles, costs a lot to maintain, and will cost quite a lot ($7 billion or more) to upgrade to modern standards.

But the bottom line is thatI don't think the core problem is F-22 vs. F-35. The core problem is...
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WILL CHINA POP THE WORLD'S BUBBLE? Print E-mail
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Thursday, 13 February 2014

China's Xi Jinping has cast the die. After weighing up the unappetizing choice before him for a year, he has picked the lesser of two poisons.

The balance of evidence is that most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Tse-tung aims to prick China's $24 trillion credit bubble early in his 10-year term, rather than putting off the day of reckoning for yet another cycle.

This may be well-advised for China, but the rest of the world seems remarkably nonchalant over the implications. Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and the commodity bloc are already in the cross-hairs.

"China is getting serious about deleveraging," says Patrick Legland and Wei Yao from Societe Generale. "It is difficult to gently deflate a bubble. There is a very real possibility that this slow deflation may get out of control and lead to a hard landing."

Societe Generale has defined its hard landing as a fall in Chinese growth to a trough of 2%, with two quarters of contraction. This would cause a 30% slide in Chinese equities, a 50% crash in copper prices, and a drop in Brent crude to $75.
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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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