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mount-everestIs seeing Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 29,032 feet, on your bucket list?  Funny thing is, trekkers who spend two weeks huffing and puffing up steep Himalayan trails to Everest Base Camp never see the mountain, except its point at the top as it’s always blocked by other mountains in the way.

Above is a view of Everest no one gets to see – the entire “Western Cwm” above the Khumbu Icefall, with the full Southwest Face of Everest on the left and straight ahead its sister peak of Lhotse, the world’s 4th highest mountain at 27,940 feet.

No one, that is, except for those who’ve been with me on my three Himalaya Helicopter Expeditions.  Now I’m leading my fourth and last this November.  This is beyond any doubt the single greatest one-week adventure it’s possible to have on earth right now.

For in going to Everest and Lhotse we’re just getting started.  We go to all eight of the highest, most magnificent mountains in the Himalayas.  We visit remote Sherpa villages, and a hidden Tibetan kingdom forbidden to get to until recently – it’s the last remaining true traditional Tibetan culture in the world.

The High Lama of the Kingdom of Lo

The High Lama of the Kingdom of Lo



chart-of-death-from-major-hurricanesHurricanes Harvey and Irma were as powerful as the big South Florida hurricanes of 1926, 1928, and 1935, but the death toll was very small compared to the earlier hurricanes in the area, even though the population is now more than 10 times the size.

The Great Galveston hurricane of 1900 is estimated to have cost 6,000 to 12,000 lives. The hurricanes that have hit the U.S. in the last 50 years have resulted in relatively few lives lost, with the exception of Hurricane Katrina where an estimated 1,833 died.

The reason so few people die now is the better forecasting, the development of weather satellites, and much better infrastructure. The Katrina disaster was not the fault of the weather forecasters but the fault of state and local government leaders.

Since the end of the last ice age about 8,000 years ago, sea levels have been slowly rising at about 1/8 of an inch or 0.3 centimeters per year (i.e., a foot every 120 years). The rise in sea levels has been slow enough that it has been easy for mankind to adapt. Most buildings and infrastructure are rebuilt every 30 to 70 years, so building the new structures higher is done as a matter of course.

Despite the alarmism coming from some, there is no evidence that sea levels are rising faster than the historic rate – nor has the Arctic ice cap melted, nor has the Earth’s temperature risen at the rate forecasted by virtually all of the major climate models.



Candidate Trump’s “No Amnesty” pledge August 31, 2016

It’s 6am and I’m back in the HFR saddle.  I’m very grateful for Rod Martin and Jack Kelly so ably standing in while I was gone – thanks, guys!

I always look forward to early Friday mornings, ready to roll with the HFR.  Yet it’s called the Half-Full Report to avoid being Pollyannic – and let’s face it, Pollyanna is in the Intensive Care ward this week hoping she won’t be on life support soon.

This has been building for some time – a series of unforced errors accumulating towards disaster.  And now it has come to this: #AmnestyDon is the new hot Twitter hashtag; Leftists, Never-Trumpers Gloat over MAGA Voters’ DACA Dismay is the headline this morning, and people are burning their MAGA hats.

This is true tragedy, a self-inflicted one of Greek Mythology proportions.  President Trump has dug himself into a deep hole, and it’s not just his DACA dance with Chuck and Nancy.

Yes, that’s pretty glass-emptying.  Yet, actually, lots of cool stuff happened this week.  So let’s get to it.



Stefan The Great defeating the Ottoman Moslems January 10, 1475

Stefan The Great defeating the Ottoman Moslems January 10, 1475

Zagreb, Croatia.  I have just completed my expedition through Hidden Eastern Europe, primarily through much of the Balkans.  It has been a historical lesson of sobering immensity.

Today is the 16th anniversary of the most evil attack on America in our history.  More morally evil than Pearl Harbor, which was an act of war targeting US military personnel (of the 2403 deaths, 68 were civilians). 9/11, by contrast specifically targeted civilians on purpose.  2,977 innocent human beings were slaughtered by Moslem terrorists, of whom 2,508 were civilians.

The Wikipedia entry on 9/11 casualties states:  “The attacks of September 11, 2001, were the deadliest terrorist act in world history.”

If you click on that latter link, up will come a list of 173 of the worst terrorist attacks, starting with 9/11.  Scroll down the list and you’ll be overwhelmed at how many are attributed to “Islamic extremism” – 120 out of 173.

The Moslem Atrocity of 9/11 is a trauma America will never forget and never forgive its perpetrators.  What Americans should also never forget is its context.  Here in the Balkans is where you learn that context in spades.

We suffered one horrific attack of Islamic barbarism.  What would it be like to suffer an unending series of slaughters and enslavements for century after century, for four or five hundred years?



twin-towers-attackedEach generation is born into history out of a moment of crisis. We are defined by our struggles. By the wars we fight and do not fight. On a Tuesday morning in September 16 years ago, my generation was born into history.

Some of us were born into it better than others.  On September 11, some of us opened our eyes. Others closed them as hard as they could.

That Tuesday irrevocably divided my generation. Some joined the military, the police or became analysts. Others turned left-wing activists, volunteered as lawyers for terrorists or converted to Islam.

Everything I needed to know about Islam, I learned on September 11. The details of the theology came later. I couldn’t quote the Koran while the sirens were wailing. But I learned the essential truth. And so did you.



The Prince and the POTUS

The Prince and the POTUS

Things change. But if change isn’t punctuated by dramatic events, we tend to be slow the grasp its significance.

Consider how differently Americans regarded Germany and Japan in 1961 than in 1945.

The changes in the Middle East in the 16 years since 9/11 are almost as profound as were the changes in Germany and Japan between 1945 and 1961. But because they weren’t ushered in by the atomic bomb, we haven’t paid as much attention to them.

I’ve regarded Saudi Arabia as our most dangerous enemy in the Middle East, because the Saudi royal family financed Wahhabi madrassas and mosques all over the world, Wahhabism/Salafism is the source of Sunni Islamist terror.

Yet, suddenly, that’s all changed now, due to a set of extraordinary circumstances that both a Saudi Prince affectionately known as MbS and a new American President understand and are cooperating on.  Here’s the story of the Prince and the POTUS.



gary-cohn-in-disguiseAccording to the New York Times (9/12), Gary Cohn, chief economic advisor to President Trump, is to host a meeting in New York with the world’s leading climate and energy ministers next Monday (9/18).

This meeting he has planned with the world’s climate and energy alarmists will no doubt be sold as just another case of oiling the wheels of diplomacy.

It’s not. It’s a deliberate provocation; an act of war; a statement of intent by one of the most vicious alligators in the swamp that no way is that stagnant, slimy, watery domain going to be drained because the living there is so easy that it must never be allowed to end.

That’s because the climate change industry is a $1.5 trillion a year boondoggle arranged for the benefit of dodgy second-rate scientists, rent-seeking corporations, power-crazed technocrats, publicity-hungry anti-capitalist NGOs, and financiers like Gary Cohn.



Merkel with her heartthrob

Merkel with her heartthrob

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th American president in November 2016 resulted in a predictable wave of barely concealed anti-American sentiment in the European media and officialdom alike. The reasons are not difficult to understand.

The European Union as the major European political institution is generally left-of-center and much closer ideologically to the Democrat Party elites in the United States than to the Republicans. Further, the European media are closely attuned to the mainstream media in the U.S. and look at the country through pretty much their prism.

What has followed since is more disturbing still because it points to new fault lines that augur ill for the West and Europe in particular. The German Left as represented by foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel has gone as far as demanding the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from Germany, which in practice means the end of NATO.

Even more serious is Angela Merkel rapidly becoming Putin’s Chamberlain. For the picture of Merkel fawning over Putin above certainly brings to mind the infamous British Prime Minister doing the same with Hitler in 1938:




paul-ryanHave you ever known someone who was exceptionally smart, very personable and highly accomplished, but was not particularly good at managing a large number of independently minded people? I have. His name is Paul Ryan.

President Trump, who is not as nice as Mr. Ryan but a get-it-done fellow, made a deal with the Democrats, which would have never been necessary if Mr. Ryan and Mr. McConnell had done their jobs.

Students, members of the military, and workers in the private sector are usually penalized, or worse, for not meeting critical deadlines. Why should members of Congress and their leaders get a free pass?

Both Mr. Ryan and Mr. McConnell are too beholden to the traditional way of doing things, unlike their opponents.

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