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If you spent more each month than you made and got deeper and deeper into debt, but had an asset equal to your debts, like a big expensive boat you never used, what would you do? If you were rational, you would sell the boat. The U.S. government has spent more than it receives in tax revenue for most of the last 75 years, and, as a result, the national debt and the associated interest payments have gotten bigger and bigger. But what is not well known is that the U.S. government also has many trillions of dollars of assets, which may exceed the value of the debt. I say "may" because, in fact, no one knows because the government has no accurate balance sheet of what it owns and what it owes. For instance, the federal government owns somewhere between 600 and 700 million acres of land, or over 30 percent of all U.S. land.



It has long been assumed that a repressive regime could survive as long as it had the will to crush any opposition, and that clever tyrants could deflect hatred of their regime by conjuring up an external enemy. There is still a tendency, particularly among intellectuals, to assume that these principles apply to contemporary dictatorships like those in China, Iran, and North Korea. Yet recent events suggest that these three countries, which are united by common interests and which help one another with advanced military technology, from missiles to WMDs, are losing control despite their fierce determination to cling to power and eventually fight and win a great war against the West. All three have nearby examples of new democracies, and their peoples are asking, with increasing intensity, why they are not permitted to govern themselves.



There was a very funny movie made back in 1987 called The Princess Bride. Imagine an Errol Flynn swashbuckler with a Monty Python script. One of my favorite scenes is when the hero, Westley (played by Cary Elwes) is wounded and his friends drag his limp body to a Yiddish Wizard named Miracle Max (played by Billy Crystal) in hopes of saving him. But it’s too late. He’s dead, they tell Max. “Look who knows so much,” Max replies after examining Westley. “It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There is a VERY BIG DIFFERENCE between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.” “What's that?” his friends ask. Max answers, “Go through his clothes and look for loose change.” It turns out there was an adaptive replay of this scene in the Sistine Chapel this week. The College of Cardinals dragged in the limp body of European Christianity - which means of European civilization and culture - and placed it at Josef Ratzinger’s feet. Can you save him? they asked, because we are afraid he’s dead. Their Dean and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied that yes, he is mostly dead - but not all dead, so there is hope for his revival. That hope is what elected Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy.



A friend bought a new PDA and offered me his old one at a price I couldn’t refuse. I still feel the wisest strategy, as I mentioned in a previous column, is to wait several months until combination ultra-light portables with digital cameras, radios and MP3 players come attached. Still, for 100 shekels ($22) how could anyone refuse? I looked for a method of connecting a PDA or laptop to the Internet without having to use Wifi or regular Ethernet connection. Why not a cellphone? My phone is all set up for Internet; at the press of a button I can surf the Web. Was there any way I could transfer that connection to my laptop or PDA? Turns out there is. Here's how.



At the newly-opened World War II Memorial in Washington, there are inscribed in stone these words of FDR:No matter what else a contemporary conservative may think of FDR, he was not embarrassed to be American. It is inconceivable that a modern liberal, his brain filled with the goo of moral relativism, multicultural diversity, and the compulsion to Blame America First, could demand that America’s “righteous might” achieve “absolute victory” over its enemies. What characterizes this statement is moral certainty, the sure and certain conviction that America was in the right and the Nazis and Imperialist Japanese were in the wrong with no doubt or equivocation. The “Greatest Generation” of Americans was called such because its members were motivated by this conviction.Americans will never entrust their security to a president who doesn’t grasp this, who embraces moral relativism and rejects moral certainty - or at least seems to. If a Liberal Democrat arose to embody the undiluted patriotism of FDR, the door to the White House would be open to him - or her - especially if he - or she - could convince most folks such an embodiment was real while slyly winking to the liberal elite that it’s a con.



It is obvious to anyone with open eyes that the Grey Lady of the New York Times is a liberal propaganda sheet rather than a real newspaper. The examples are legion of its pushing stories twisted to the left. But equally important are stories it refuses to report, that it doesn’t want its readers to know. On January 26-27, 2005 there was a tremendous snowstorm in the Sahara Desert. Much of the Sahara in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia were blanketed by an enormous snowfall, the worst in over half a century. Here are the NASA satellite photos.You would think a snowstorm in the Sahara would be news - but you never heard about it because such a story conflicts with the liberal secular religion of Global Warming.Here’s another example: The Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has been pumping oil from northern Iraq to Turkey’s oil terminal at such a rate now that Iraq is back to just about 100% of pre-war oil production. It’s one reason for oil prices dropping off the spike of nearly $60, and heading below $50. But such a story, folded into the larger story that security is improving in Iraq so that the country will be exporting well over 2 million bpd by fall, conflicts with the liberal media con that the world economy is failing and oil is rising because of President Bush (oh, yes - and now, according to Nancy Pelosi, also Tom DeLay!)Just two small examples why you can understand the world far better by subscribing to To The Point instead of the New York Times…



One of the very first “Liberation Links” we put up at the inception of To The Point was to John Linder’s FairTax. John is a Republican Congressman from Georgia who has authored a bill, HR 25 for the 109th Congress, that would in his words, “repeal all corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes - and replace it with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax.”If the FairTax were to become law, the IRS would cease to exist, and we would pay our taxes like we buy a gallon of gasoline. Yes, that gallon and just about everything else would cost 23% more in a national retail sales tax - but since business-to-business transactions are not taxed, nor would businesses be paying corporate taxes or the employers’ share of payroll taxes, consumer prices would drop by at least that 23% if not much more. The extent of the explosion of increased prosperity that would happen throughout America if the FairTax were to replace the IRS is difficult to exaggerate. Let’s put it this way: The FairTax would be the single greatest act of wealth creation in the history of man.We are now fast approaching a tipping point of acknowledgement that the federal tax code is irretrievably broken and has to be replaced. Linder’s FairTax is by far the best fix. Except there’s this one little problem - actually, it’s the 16th problem.



This past weekend, the Chinese Communist government organized a protest demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. Under the watchful eyes of Chinese security agents and police, the young protestors were encouraged to throw stones at the embassy in protest over the latest Japanese history textbook continuing to omit mention of Japanese atrocities in China during World War II.Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, on a charm offensive in India at the time of the protest, told reporters in New Delhi that “Only a country that respects and takes responsibility for history can win over peoples’ trust, in Asia and the world at large… (the protest in Beijing) should prompt deep and profound reflection in Japan.”A Japanese response to the Chinese accusations will soon be forthcoming. There will be bland public statements, such as Prime Minister Koizumi’s to the Kyodo News Agency: “Any country can face criticism, but it is not good to let confrontation heighten because of that.” Then there will be the unofficial response, a private letter to Wen Jiabao on Koizumi’s official letterhead, which notes:

I, along with many of my fellow Japanese citizens, must admit to being astounded at your admonishing us to “take responsibility for history,” and to engage in “deep and profound reflection” on our history. Astounded because you pretend not to see how much this advice applies to you and the Communist Party of China.There is an old English proverb of which I am sure you are aware: People who live in glass houses should never throw stones. The government of the People’s Republic of China is such a glass house.
The letter is going to be faxed, emailed, mass-reprinted and covertly distributed to millions of folks in the People’s Republic by Taiwan Chinese agents who have gotten a copy. Here it is in full:



Microsoft has just released several important security updates, including a new version of its Malicious Software Removal Tool. In case you still don’t have your system set to automatic updates, go to the Windows Update Site. Before you do, make a backup of your system state. A while ago I explained how to do it. I’ll go over the steps here again. They’ve changed slightly after installing Service Pack 2. I also urge you to make a backup of your system state every time you install new software, except for small applications by reliable companies, like the Google Toolbar. You should also regularly backup your system state, as I have previously recommended, especially before cleaning your registry. Click Start in the bottom left corner, hover your mouse on All Programs, Navigate to Accessories -> System Tools, then click on Backup.



The most powerful Congressmen have, in addition to their regular offices in one of the House Office Buildings (Cannon, Longworth, or Rayburn) on the south side of Capitol Hill, a private office in the Capitol itself. It was in such an office earlier this week that I asked a member of the House leadership about the MSM (mainstream media)/Democrat vendetta against his colleague, Tom DeLay.“Hillary’s fingerprints are all over it,” came his response. “She has no intention of having to deal with an opposition party controlling the House as her husband did for six years and Ronald Reagan did for eight. She has a very clear plan for seizing control of the entire United States government, which includes orchestrating Democrat control of the House in 2006 so it is firmly in place when she is elected president in 2008.”It is, then, at Hillary’s direction that the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the entire Liberal Media apparatus are waging a relentless war upon House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.