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HALF-FULL REPORT 01/31/14 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 31 January 2014

Whoa... the response to The TTP Portugal Retreat has been so strong that Rebel and I were compelled to schedule a second one!  And now that's just about filled as well. 

There might be a space or two left on the first one - March 20-25 with a 3-day extension - and a few on the second - April 24-29 with a 3-day extension.  Carpe diem to not miss out coming to sunny, beautiful, historical Portugal with Rebel and me. 

In between these now-two Portugal Retreats, there's The Land of the Dragon's Blood Tree.  This was announced last Monday the 27th - and by today, only five days later, that's almost filled too!  I am truly excited about this.  There is absolutely no place on earth like Socotra.  It is "completely unique on a global scale," as the National Geographic says.

Look at the pictures and see for yourself.  Please don't miss the opportunity to experience one of the most extraordinary places on our planet....

...I considered for an entire femtosecond watching Zero's SOTU Tuesday night (1/28), but decided there were far more productive things to do, such as reorganizing my sock drawer. There was, however, one hilarious moment during this soporific soliloquy.
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Monday, 27 January 2014


This is the Dragon's Blood Tree, Dracaena cinnabari.  It can be found in only one place on earth, a remote island called a Lost World for its uniqueness, the "most alien-looking place on our planet." 

Yet the Dragon's Blood Tree (named for its bright red sap that has medicinal properties) is only one of over 300 plant species that can be found here and nowhere else - like the Bottle Tree, Dorstenia gigas:


Although it's known as the most alien, strangest, weirdest and bizarre place you can go to in the entire world, it's also completely safe and incredibly beautiful. Anybody who comes here returns saying, "You have to see it to believe it."  That's just what we're going to do.  What is this place?

It's the World Heritage Site of the island of Socotra, the "Galapagos of the Indian Ocean," 240 miles off the coast of Yemen to which it belongs.  It's hidden, remote, and far away - yet we're going to get there (and someplace else that's amazing) from your home and back in one incredibly memorable week.  Ready?  Here we go - and yes, the pictures are real.
Written by Jack Kelly   
Thursday, 30 January 2014

President Barack Hussein Obama spoke for 65 minutes Tuesday (1/28) night, but didn't say much.  And hardly anyone in the country paid any attention.  Did you?

State of the Union addresses typically are laundry lists of a president's alleged accomplishments, and of his legislative goals for the coming year.

It's difficult for even the most gifted speechwriters to turn laundry lists into spellbinding oratory.  But this was "the most plodding, enervated and pointless national address of his presidency," said John Podhoretz in the New York Post. 

"Gone is the lyricism for which liberals swooned in 2008 and to a lesser extent in 2012," said Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. "In its place are a list of half-measures and forced anecdotes about Obamacare."  They were "picayune --  high-tech hubs, broadband access for kids, the minimum wage," said Rich Lowry of National Review.

"Is that all there is?" asked Ron Fournier of the National Journal.  The president touched on liberal hot buttons such as gun control and income inequality, but his touch was perfunctory.  This was the most startling passage in the SOTU:
Written by Michael Ledeen   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

There are none so blind as those who will not see, and hardly anyone wants to see Iran for what it is:  an evil regime bound and determined to dominate and destroy us, our friends and our allies. 

The evidence is luminously clear, but most all of our attention has focused, as usual, on the nuclear issue.  Did the Iranians promise to stop enriching uranium or "dismantle" some of the components of their nuclear program?  How many Western sanctions are being eased or lifted in exchange? And on and on...

We can expect the Iranians to prolong and exploit this period to their advantage and our peril.  They've already begun. The Iranian regime is expanding its regional and global power, killing its domestic enemies, and subverting and intimidating Middle Eastern nations that are reluctant to bend to its will.  These matters require serious Western attention, but they aren't getting much.  For us, it's all about nukes and sanctions.

Just take a few of their major actions:
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Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard   
Thursday, 30 January 2014

Half the world economy is one accident away from a deflation trap. The emerging market bloc makes up half the world economy, far higher than in any previous crisis. Roughly $4 trillion of foreign funds swept into emerging markets after the Lehman crisis, much of it by then "momentum money" late to the party.

One country after another is now having to tighten into weakness. Neil Shearing from Capital Economics says Brazil, India and Russia are all suffering from the 1970s curse of "stagflation," unable to stimulate their economies to revive growth.

Mr. Shearing said the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are in worse shape than many of the other emerging market states, but the strains are spreading.

While every story is different, the common theme for the BRICS is that they have exhausted their catch-up growth models, let credit booms get out of hand and failed to push through reforms while the going was good. Productivity rates have plummeted almost everywhere.  That most certainly includes China.
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Written by Matt Ridley   
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The tragic death of an Indian minister's wife and the overdose of a French president's "wife" give a startling insight into the misery that infidelity causes in a monogamous society.

In cultures like India and France, it is just not possible now for men to reap the sexual rewards that usually attend arrival at the top of society. President Zuma of South Africa has four wives and 20 children, while one Nigerian preacher is said to have 86 wives. Chinese emperors used to complain of their relentless sexual duties. Why the difference?

Human monogamy is an enduring puzzle. Among mammals we are the exception: just 3 per cent of mammals form pair bonds. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas, are promiscuous, very promiscuous, territorial-polygamous and harem-polygamous respectively.

Yet we are clearly monogamous by instinct as well as by tradition. Even in societies that allow polygamy, most people are in one-partner couples. Free-love communes always, without exception, collapse because people will insist on falling in love with particular individuals. This pairing tendency would baffle a bonobo, where sexual jealousy is apparently unknown.

So at some point in the distant past, we developed the habit of monogamous pair bonding. In human beings, monogamy probably goes back hundreds of thousands if not millions of years.  (See Jack Wheeler's Marriage and the Missing Link, September 2009.)
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Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

How would most Americans and Congress react if a foreign government passed laws regulating U.S. businesses and people in the United States?

Probably with justified outrage. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA is U.S. financial imperialism at its worst.  It's causing great resentment in much of the world, which is hurting U.S. interests.

The administration and many in Congress seem to have learned nothing from the Obamacare disaster. Now that they have destroyed the world's best health care system, they are in the process of further destroying what was at one time a very functional global financial system.

In its place, they would erect a tax law whose costs were far higher than its benefit, that may drive hundreds of billions of dollars of job-creating foreign capital out of the United States, and that could trigger a global financial crisis.  Only the Democrats could do something so sinister and masochistic -- and try to stymie any Republican effort to repeal it.
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Written by Dr. Joel Wade   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

One day in the 1920s Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik was sitting in a café in Vienna waiting for her coffee refill. It never came. She noticed that her waiter had an excellent memory for all of his customers' orders, but somehow had forgotten her coffee.

Bluma set herself to the task of investigating this phenomenon further.

What she found in her subsequent studies was this: People tend to remember the details of things exceptionally well when those things are unfinished. She had already paid her waiter, so he had forgotten about her because he was finished with her as a customer.

What is unfinished haunts us. It stays with us, nagging us to bring it to completion. Benjamin Franklin once said that houseguests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. What is unfinished has an uncanny ability to stink up our lives.  Here are some tips on how to unstink them.
HALF-FULL REPORT 01/24/14 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Friday, 24 January 2014

Well, Portugal, here we come!  On Monday (1/20), we announced The TTP Portugal Retreat, and as of today (1/24), it's almost booked out.  Those TTPers who took my advice to move quickly were smart to do so.  We only have a couple of spaces left. 

So there's no time to waste.  Don't miss out on coming to sunny, beautiful, historical Portugal with Rebel and me.  We're going to have a fabulous time.  (And yes, Rebel has agreed to have a 3-day post-retreat excursion visiting five World Heritage Sites and staying in a King's Palace.)

We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's start right off the bat with the HFR Hero of the Week.  He's a professional boxer - the Heavyweight Champion of the World.  He retired undefeated last month, so he could run to be elected president of his country. 

But to do that, he has to lead a revolution against a brutally corrupt dictatorship - literally, with barricades in the streets, burning tires, and Molotov cocktails.  This is for real.  This is a scene on the streets of Kiev, Ukraine from yesterday (1/23).

Let's also hope and fervently pray that such scenes will not become necessary in America to retrieve our freedom. 
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Monday, 20 January 2014

Thursday, March 20 - Tuesday, March 25

Last week (01/10), we learned about the history of Portugal in California in Europe.  We also learned that's where the first TTP International Retreat will be. 

Again, this is different than a Rendezvous, where a lot of us gather to enjoy each other's company and to hear our speakers.  This is an intimate get together of no more than a dozen TTPers to discuss the world in depth.  And I might as well give you a warning up front.

In addition to learning more about the world than you thought possible over a long weekend, you run the risk of falling head over heels in love with Portugal.  I describe it as utterly captivating, and once you are there you'll easily understand why. Actually, you'll understand just with the pictures below. Here's our schedule. 
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Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler   
Thursday, 23 January 2014


This has got to be the best picture from yesterday's March for Life.  It was truly an extraordinary event - hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers marching from the White House to the Supreme Court in bitterly below-freezing cold, and doing so in good cheer.

Actually, the event in Washington DC was only one of many Marches for Life that took place in cities all over the country on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court's most hideous - and ludicrously unconstitutional - decisions, Roe v. Wade, on January 22, 1973.

It's pretty easy to understand - inhuman not to, in fact - why people would be passionately anti-abortion, and be morally revolted by a mother killing her own child. 

The obverse is more difficult.  While it may be understandable that under certain circumstances of a woman's life, she could feel that terminating her pregnancy was her only solution, what is unfathomable is the hysterical, fanatical frenzy of passion that consumes pro-abortionists. 

It's clinically pathological.   It's one of the clearest markers that folks on the Left aren't just mistaken, they're deranged.  What were the villains of the Harry Potter novels called?  Death-eaters.  That's them.  The good news is that an increasing majority of Americans looks upon them as such.  Even better news is that the reason this number is increasing is because it's composed of Millennials - young folks 30 and under.
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Written by Ben Carson, MD   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My entire professional life has been devoted to saving and enhancing lives. Thus, the thought of abortion for the sake of convenience does not appeal to me. I have personally met several people who have told me that their mothers had considered abortion, but happily decided against it.

Most of us instinctively want to protect helpless creatures and sometimes go to great lengths to do so. The television commercials about abused animals are very poignant and as a society, we sometimes delay or cancel large construction projects to protect an "endangered" insect, amphibian or fish.

Yet many of us turn a blind eye to the wanton slaughter of millions of helpless human babies who are much more sophisticated than some of the other creatures, when nothing is at stake other than the convenience of one or both parents. I am not saying that we should abandon our efforts to save baby seals and a host of other animals.

Rather I am saying shouldn't we consider adding human fetuses and babies to the list?
Written by Jack Kelly   
Friday, 24 January 2014

Wendy Davis and Elizabeth Warren are feminist heroines.  Which indicates feminists these days don't expect much from their heroines.  Call them regressive-liberal heroines.

Ms. Davis, a state senator in Texas, has parlayed the attention the national news media lavished upon her 11-hour filibuster against a bill to forbid abortions after 20 weeks into a campaign for governor.

She could give Democrats "real people credibility," based on "her own personal story - an absent father, a sixth-grade-educated mother, a teen pregnancy, followed by life as a single mom in a mobile home, then community college and, at last, Harvard Law School," gushed the regressives at Time magazine.

"The Today Show accompanied her back to the mobile home as if it were taking Abraham Lincoln back to the log cabin where he was raised," said Rich Lowry of National Review.

Unlike Time and NBC, Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News checked out the claims Ms. Davis made in her campaign biography.  He found a few discrepancies.
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Written by Jack Kelly   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What George Wallace and "Bull" Connor would have decried as "miscegenation" is commonplace in America today.

Ten percent of all married couples in 2010 were interracial, a 28 percent increase since 2000, according to the Census Bureau. There were 157,000 interracial married couples in 1960, 5.4 million in 2010. 

Nine million Americans reported being of mixed race, a 32 percent increase over 2000.

At one time or another, all but 9 states (Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin) had laws forbidding mixed race marriages.  We've come a long way in half a century. 

But there are still racists among us.  Especially among regressive liberals.  Call what they espouse Regressive Racism.   Here are some revolting examples of it.
Written by Richard Rahn   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Without the rule of law, a civil and prosperous society cannot long endure. The annual reports of The Economic Freedom of the World and The Index of Economic Freedom show very large declines in the international ranking of the United States in the rule of law over the past decade.

The Obama administration is becoming increasingly arbitrary concerning what laws it chooses to enforce or not enforce, while, at the same time, through executive orders and administrative decisions, just making up "law" outside of the constitutional process.

Perhaps the clearest examples of this abuse can be found at the IRS, which increasingly acts as a rogue agency with the support of its masters at the Treasury and Justice Departments. 

The IRS has a long record of ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law.  Now it's become much worse.
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