Tuesday, October 21st 2014
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THE CHINESE ATTEMPT TO NATIONALIZE CHRISTIANITY Print E-mail
Written by Zachary Keck   
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

China will redouble its efforts to nationalize Christianity, a senior Chinese official announced on last Thursday (8/07).

"The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture," Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said at a Shanghai forum on the "Sinicization of Christianity," according to Chinese state media.

Gu Mengfei, deputy secretary-general of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement - a state-sanctioned umbrella organization for Protestant churches - elaborated on the initiative. "This will encourage more believers to make contributions to the country's harmonious social progress, cultural prosperity and economic development," Gu said.

As the name implies, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement - which long predates the establishment of the People's Republic of China - has Chinese nationalism at its core.

The Three-Selfs are the three principles of self-support (financial independence from foreigners), self-leadership/governance, and self-propagation (indigenous missionary work).

Nonetheless, the officials' comments last week indicate that the Chinese Communist Party intends to further tighten its grip over Christianity. There are a number of possible targets and motivations for the crackdown.
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OIL PRICE FALL AND RUSSIAN RUIN Print E-mail
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Oil prices have fallen to a nine-month low, with surging supply from OPEC - the Saudis have opened the taps - the US flooding the market, and fresh demand wilts, leading to an "oil glut" in the Atlantic region despite the twin crises in Iraq and Russia.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), the leading oil think tank, said yesterday (8/12) that the world will consume less crude than experts had thought this year. Saudi Arabia's supplies are running at the highest level since last September and crude from Libya is back on the market.

The IEA cut its forecast for the rise in global consumption to just 1m barrels a day (b/d) this year due to near recession conditions in Europe and as pervasive weakness in the world economy disappoints.

This comes as supply rises by a further 300,000 b/d beyond what was already planned. The warning sent Brent crude prices tumbling to $104 a barrel, the lowest this year.  US crude is now at $96.

The sudden shift in the balance of the market has allowed the OECD club of rich states to build up their oil stocks at the fastest rate in eight years, creating an extra layer of protection against any possible supply shock from Russia and Iraq.  This good news is disastrous for the Kremlin.
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THE WORLD'S BEST GOVERNMENT Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Geneva. Switzerland is not perfect, but as countries go, it is hard to find one that is much better.

The more people know about Switzerland, the higher regard they tend to have for it. By almost any measure of human accomplishment, and particularly in creating a most successful country governance model, the Swiss are clearly No. 1 in the world.

Switzerland is a small, landlocked nation without much in the way of natural resources. It has managed to stay out of wars for two centuries and developed a long-term multilingual and multireligious democracy without strife. There is a rule of law with competent and unbiased judges and strong protections for private property.

Switzerland also ranks higher than average among the OECD countries (the 35 most-developed economies in the world) in levels of education and student test scores, and has lower levels of air and water pollution.

Civil liberties are strongly protected, including freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and even the right to own guns. It does not get much better than this.
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THE MIRACULOUS BREAKTHROUGH YOU NEVER HEARD OF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Friday, 15 August 2014

You're probably reading this on your computer, iPad, or smartphone. When we drive somewhere new we get precise directions with real-time traffic information via GPS. We carry music, movies, and truckloads of files in a gizmo no bigger than our thumb.

We store thousands of books and read them off of small pads, in an instant. We find any bit of information we desire to know through the Internet. And we can talk by phone to almost anyone from almost anywhere - with live video included if we like.

These technological miracles are part of our everyday lives; and such revolutionary inventions as the television, telephone, air travel, microwave ovens, and even rocket ships are so... 20th Century. They're like background noise to us now.

But we are aware of them, and when I mention these technological breakthroughs, most readers will recognize and appreciate them immediately.

Yet there's a much more revolutionary transformation that we enjoy today that most of us have no awareness of whatsoever... a revolution in our very humanity, a revolution that bodes well for our very existence.

The chances are you've never heard of this, in part because of another technological development: television news.
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AN EXAMPLE OF IRONY Print E-mail
Written by To The Point News   
Friday, 15 August 2014

"Irony" is one of those words that is often used but many people remain unsure of exactly what it is.  As a public service, TTP offers this helpful example.

irony_muslim.png

Hassan was found guilty of murder -- he stabbed his wife 40 times before beheading her -- on February 7, 2011, and his currently incarcerated at the Clinton Correctional facility in New York.  His parole date hearing is scheduled for October 2033.
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HALF-FULL REPORT 08/08/14 Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 08 August 2014

The United States is once again at war in Iraq - sort of. President Barack Obama authorized last night humanitarian air drops to the up to 40,000 Yazidi refugees trapped on Mt. Sinjar, and "limited" air strikes on the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorists who want to exterminate them.
The belated American intervention comes at the 11th hour for Iraq, where it is rapidly approaching midnight. It remains to be seen whether the "narrow," defensive, heavily conditioned air strikes the president approved will be enough to avert catastrophe, or if they'll just make a terrible situation worse. 
* * * *
In Afghanistan Tuesday, Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was killed and 15 others wounded by an Afghan soldier turned terrorist. Gen. Greene was the highest-ranking American service member to be killed since the war on terror began, the 2,340th to die in Afghanistan. More than 73 percent have died since Barack Obama became president.
* * * *
Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, won their primaries this week, giving conservative insurgents bupkes for the year in their challenges to incumbent GOP senators. The one clear cut victory for the Tea Party this week came in Michigan, where young libertarian Rep. Justin Amash turned back handily a very well funded, very nasty campaign to oust him. 
* * * *
The Santa Barbara Masters, the water polo team on which Joel Wade plays, won the gold medal in the 55 and older category in the World Championships in Montreal last week.
* * * *
The Obamunists may be having second thoughts about issuing new executive orders to gut what little remains of enforcement of immigration law and protection of our southern border.
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OBAMA'S PLAN OF PERFIDY FOR ISRAEL Print E-mail
Written by Caroline Glick   
Friday, 08 August 2014

Barack Obama has a plan. 

He wants to use the ceasefire talks in Cairo to strengthen Fatah, aka the "Palestinian Authority."  In remarks Wednesday (8/06), Obama said:

"I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for some of the work that has been done in cooperation with Israel and the international community by the Palestinian Authority. And they've shown themselves to be responsible. They have recognized Israel.  They are prepared to move forward to arrive at a two-state solution. I think [PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, aka] Abu Mazen is sincere in his desire for peace."

While the administration's new plan sounds nice in theory, it has one basic problem.

Hamas and Fatah are partners. Hamas's demands are Fatah's demands. Hamas's goals are Fatah's goals. Giving Fatah control of the borders means giving Hamas control of the borders.

Abbas said himself in a speech broadcast on the PA's official station in December 2009 , as he was trying to form the sort of Fatah-Hamas unity government that he established in April, "There is no disagreement between us [Fatah and Hamas]: About belief? None! About policy? None! About resistance? None!"

So what is Mr. Obama's Plan of Perfidy trying to accomplish?
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ARE WE WITNESSING THE FUNERAL OF RUSSIA? Print E-mail
Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Thursday, 07 August 2014

The Kremlin's gamble has gone horribly wrong. The eastern regions of Ukraine have failed to rise in mass support for Putin's front organizations, led by political operatives from Moscow, and patently run by the Russian security apparatus (FSB/GRU) as even Russian newspapers admit.

Mr. Putin has failed equally to drive a wedge between America and Europe, or to paralyze the EU by playing off one country against another.

Mr. Putin now faces draconian sanctions from the US, EU, Japan, Canada and Australia together. He can strike back by asymmetric means -- perhaps a cyberattack -- but tit-for-tat retaliation can achieve nothing. There is no equivalence.

Russia's economy is no bigger than California's. This is an economic showdown between a $40 trillion power structure, and a $2 trillion producer of raw materials that has hollowed out its industrial core.

Mr. Putin is counting on acquiescence from the BRICS quintet as it confronts the West, and counting on capital from China to offset the loss of Western money. This is a pipedream. Beijing will reduce Russia to a vassal state of China.  Vladimir Putin is quickly becoming the ruination of Russia.
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DEMOCRAT LIES ABOUT "THE CHILDREN" Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014

The children streaming across our border are refugees fleeing violence in their home countries, Democrats say. That isn't true.

The primary reason they came to the U.S. was because they think they'll be allowed to stay, said 219 of 230 illegal immigrant children and adult family members interviewed by the Border Patrol in May, according to a report by the El Paso Intelligence Center.

Illegals have said the same to journalists who've interviewed them.

Nearly 90 percent of unaccompanied minors stopped at the border last year and this are teenagers, data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicates.In the Rio Grande Valley, adults and children crossing as part of a family unit outnumber "unaccompanied minor children" by nearly five to one.

About 25 percent of illegals apprehended in Texas, 20 percent in Arizona have criminal records in their home countries, local authorities say. Some of the "children" sport tattoos indicating membership in MS-13, the vicious Salvadoran street gang.
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THE EPIC FAIL OF RENEWABLE ENERGY Print E-mail
Written by Matt Ridley   
Wednesday, 06 August 2014

America's Mr. Obama insists that various forms of "renewable" energy are the wave of the future and worth spending countless billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize.  He is precisely wrong.  An example emerged on my side of the Pond here in Britain the other day. 

My train was diverted by engineering works near Doncaster. We trundled past some shiny new freight wagons decorated with a slogan: "Drax - powering tomorrow: carrying sustainable biomass for cost-effective renewable power." Serendipitously, I was at that moment reading a report by Dr. David McKay, chief scientist at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change on the burning of wood in Yorkshire power stations such as Drax. And I was feeling vindicated.

Believe it or not, Drax imports a million kilotons of wood from Canada and the US a year to burn in its power station in place of coal, producing twice-as-expensive electricity requiring government subsidies.  And it plans to increase its imported subsidized wood to seven million kilotons a year by 2016.

When I wrote how ludicrous this is in the London Times,  there was a howl of protest on the letters page from Drax's chief executive.  Now, Dr. MacKay's report vindicates me.  The entire rationale for burning wood rather than coal is that it allegedly produces fewer CO2 emissions.  Yet the report shows that, if the wood comes from whole trees, as much of it does, the result is an increase in emissions compared with coal. And that's allowing for the regrowth of forests.

Nonetheless, the renewable-energy bandwagon careens onward, costing ever more money and doing real environmental harm, while producing trivial quantities of energy and risking blackouts next winter.  This applies to every form of renewable energy.  Here's the scorecard in Britain.
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IN PRAISE OF TAX HAVENS Print E-mail
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014

Jersey, Channel Islands.  Americans know of the state of New Jersey, but few know that it was named after the island of Jersey, which is located in the English Channel about 14 miles off the coast of France.

This small island, about two-thirds the size of Washington, D.C. with only 100,000 people, is today home to one of the world's largest financial centers.

Jersey has a higher per-capita income than America, and roughly twice the per-capita income of Britain and France. The globe is dotted with relatively small, prosperous places that have become rich without the benefit of natural resources.

What have they -- Jersey and the island next door, Guernsey, along with Bermuda, Cayman, Singapore, Hong Kong, and even larger places like Switzerland --  done right, leaving many of their larger and more richly endowed neighbors plodding along in their economic dust?
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THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WORLD'S STUPIDEST WAR Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Wednesday, 06 August 2014

It was 100 years ago this week that the "Guns of August" sounded at the beginning of what almost certainly was the most pointless war in the history of humankind.

And until World War II, of which it was the primary cause, the "Great War," as it was known at the time, was the bloodiest in history. About 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians were killed between Aug. 4, 1914 and Nov. 8, 1918.

The world in August, 1914 was very different from the one we live in. There were just 62 sovereign states  then, compared to 196 today. Most of Africa and Asia were divided up among European empires, of which the German, Russian and Austro-Hungarian were ruled by kings. Virtually all of the Middle East was ruled by a Turkish caliph in Istanbul.

Nearly all of our geopolitical troubles today stem from the Great War and its immediate aftermath.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany (1859-1941) was the grandson of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), first cousin to King George V, second cousin to Czar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918), first cousin to his wife, Czarina Alix of Hesse. More of German than of Russian descent, Czar Nicholas was also a first cousin of King George V, and of the kings of Norway and Greece.

Their relationships didn't prevent these monarchs from blundering into a war none of them wanted, or from continuing it to the ruin of their countries after the expectations each had for a quick victory were dashed.
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FORGIVE ME, ALLAH! Print E-mail
Written by Ali Hussein Mohammed   
Friday, 08 August 2014

moslem_praying.png

O Allah, most merciful, most beneficent!  I have devoted my life to being a good Moslem.  I have committed much of the Holy Koran to memory.  I dutifully follow the Five Pillars of Islam: 

I profess the shahadah, that "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Messenger."

I adhere to salah, offering five daily prayers at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening.

I give zakat, almsgiving to poor Moslems in the amount required, 2½% of my wealth.

I observe sawm, fasting during the month of Ramadan, during which I neither eat nor drink from dawn to sunset.

And I have participated in the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Holy Mecca, and am thus a haji.

All of this I happily do, for I know that Allah is most merciful, most beneficent.

But there is one thing that, as much as I try, I do not understand:
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HALF-FULL REPORT 08/01/14 Print E-mail
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 01 August 2014

Jack Wheeler is on a boat to Russia, so I'm filling in for him on the HFR on what's been a truly eventful week.

If a documentary were made about John Kerry's performance as Secretary of State, it ought to be entitled: "The Putz." In an administration in which the most common characteristics of senior officials are arrogance and incompetence, Kerry sticks out.

It isn't often we can be grateful our president and his secretary of state are international laughingstocks, but in this instance we can.

Some suspect Kerry was made secretary of state in order to make Hillary Clinton's performance seem better. Here, here and here are reminders it wasn't.
* * * *
Democrats were gleeful last night after House Republicans failed to pass a bill to address the border crisis. But their joy was short-lived.
* * * *
Zero's downsizing of the military leaves America too weak to counter rising global threats, said an independent panel appointed by DoD and Congress.
* * * *
If you weren't fretting about the Ebola virus before, you will be after reading this.
* * * *
House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a VA "reform" bill that does a little to relieve the plight of veterans; more to reward the bureaucrats who've neglected and abused them
* * * *
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could be in really big trouble. With the law, not the voters. Watergate type trouble, thinks the very left wing Nation magazine.
* * * *
The administration's argument Congress intended for those who sign up for Obamacare on the federal exchange should get subsidies too has been torpedoed by a video of remarks made in January of 2012 by one of Obamacare's leading architects.
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WILL EASTERN EUROPE HANG TOGETHER OR HANG SEPARATELY? Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Wednesday, 30 July 2014

eastern_europe.png

How's this for irony?  I'm on my way to Amsterdam, soon to land at Schiphol Airport - from where MH17 took off on July 17 to be shot down by Putin's Proxies over Ukraine.  From there, I join our Baltic Cruise bound for... St. Petersburg, Russia.  This will be interesting.

When the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991, signaling America's victory in the Cold War, there were high hopes that a now-free and non-Communist Russia would embrace freedom and democracy, joining the West along with other liberated Soviet colonies.  But no.  The Russians didn't celebrate, they immersed themselves in bitter resentment instead.

Thus Putin described the breakup of the Soviet Union as a "tragedy," the "greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century."  Not World War II, not Nazism or Communism, not the existence of the USSR but its termination.

Thus he and his millions of Russian admirers are motivated by a passionate revanchism (French from revanche, "revenge") - the dream of reversing territorial losses.  It is exactly the same motivation as the Mexican Nazis (May 2005) of the Reconquista movement. 

Last Friday (7/25) in the pages of the Washington Post, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko called for "a worldwide coalition of nations in support of Ukraine" against Russian revanchism, led by the US and the EU.  Yesterday (7/29), both the US and EU together with Canada, responded to Poroshenko's plea, announcing a new round of economic sanctions on Russia.

Next, expect to see Poroshenko call for a composed of those nations that were once under the Russian boot and will be again unless they unite to prevent it.  

He will argue that it's not just Ukraine's freedom at stake - it's all of Eastern Europe's.  He will remind his fellow Eastern European leaders of Benjamin Franklin's famous quip during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "We must, indeed, all hang together, gentlemen, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."

How many will heed his call?  There are 23 Former Russian Colonies in Eastern Europe.  Let's take a look at them.
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