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WANT BETTER AND CHEAPER DRUGS?

The most monumental mistake of George W. Bush’s first term was his Medicare Prescription Drug bill. You have read that it is going to cost American taxpayers an estimated $6 trillion. That’s more than the entire current federal debt. But - it is much, much worse than that.Let’s begin with the asinine assumption that in order for the cost to be only six trillion over the next 40 or so years, average American life expectancy will increase by just two years. For the last 125 years, life expectancy in America has been increasing by three months per year. For the last 30 years, as infant mortality rates have shrunk to be statistically marginal, all of the increase has gone to the elderly. By 2050, Americans will be living at least 11-12 years longer than today - which doubles the time folks will collect Medicare (and Social Security) benefits. So now we’re at twelve, not six, trillion in prescription drug costs alone. Yet we are just getting started. George Bush’s bribe of prescription drug “benefits” for old folks who still refused to vote for him in the numbers he expected is going to cost our kids and their kids well over 20 trillion dollars.I can tell you what the solution is - but unless you’re a fan of Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, economists who fully understand how government regulation can ruin a market sector, it will take getting used to.

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ARMSTRONG AND ARNAUD

Liberal media journalists are all a-flutter about columnist Armstrong Williams being paid $240,000 by the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind program. They are whipping themselves into a moral dudgeon over a conservative black writer besmirching his journalistic ethics. TMS, the outfit that syndicates Armstrong’s column to papers throughout the country, canceled him.While they are so morally incensed, maybe now these folks can start investigating their brethren who are taking bribes from Saudi Arabia. A year ago last January, the editor-in-chief of the prominent Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh, Turki Al-Sudairi, disclosed that the Saudi government dispenses millions of dollars a year in bribes to journalists around the world to write articles sympathetic to Saudi Arabia and to attack Israel. French newspapers are virulently anti-Semitic as it is, but Saudi money insures they stay that way. Hundreds of journalists, reporters, commentators, and talking heads from scores of publications and media outlets in dozens of countries are on the Saudi payroll. It’s a very sophisticated operation, and world-wide in scope.That scope includes America - especially America.

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WHEN MALWARE REALLY GRIPS YOUR SYSTEM

When you’ve lost control of your computer to "malware," there are only two things to try. The first I’ll describe below. The second is to reformat your hard disk(s) and reinstall the operating system and all your programs. The second is apt to be painful, with a permanent loss of data unless you regularly back up your important data. I’ve discussed this in previous columns. Here's my advice. 1) Download the following two items...

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CHICOMS AND CHAOS

It is a humbling experience to have a deep conversation with a truly great man. Harry Wu has been nominated repeatedly for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is in the same league with Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa, Aung San Suu Kyi, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is Harry Wu who deserved the Nobel Peace Prize last year, not a racist kook, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who believes AIDS was invented by white scientists to exterminate black Africans. When I had lunch with Harry this week, we agreed that China faces chaos - and that the Chicoms will most likely try to cure the chaos with war. The New York Times reports (12/31/04) that there were over 60,000 - sixty thousand - riots, disturbances, and public protests throughout China in 2004. "People can see how corrupt the government is while they barely have enough to eat," a demonstration leader was quoted. "Our society has a short fuse, just waiting for a spark."

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RECOGNIZING SOMALILAND

To The Point supports the recognition of Somaliland as a viable nation independent of Somalia. As Richard points out, even though Somaliland is a success and Somalia an anarchic failure, our State Department refuses to advocate its recognition, for fear that would be announcing that the borders of most African states are make-believe - which they are. Somaliland is one of To The Point’s “Liberation Links” listed in the left side bar. You can learn more about Somaliland by going to www.somalilandnet.com -- JW What is Somaliland? Don't be embarrassed if you don't know. Very few people know, and that is the beginning of the problem. Somaliland is not Somalia, but is a part of what used to be Somalia -- and it may or may not be an independent country. As you may recall, Somalia was the country in which the famous "Black Hawk down" incident (and later movie) occurred. Somaliland is on the Horn of Africa, surrounded by Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden. First, a little history:

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THE RACISM OF DEMOCRATS

Chief Justice William Rehnquist's health is so poor he likely soon will be called to the Great Appellate Bench in the Sky. On NBC's "Meet the Press" program last month, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev), said he could support the elevation of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia to chief justice, but not Justice Clarence Thomas. Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a liberal Democrat who is black, said Reid's erroneous attack on Thomas appeared to be motivated by racism. "It is the black justice who cannot write opinions, articulate independent thoughts, or perform his job well," she said, writing in the Chicago Tribune. "The exact same comments were made about the late Justice Thurgood Marshall."

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CLEANING UP THE REGISTRY

In an early column I discussed the Windows registry. It holds thousands, sometimes more than ten thousand settings. Some of these settings are for Windows itself, and others are for applications. As time passes, the registry becomes clogged with useless or erroneous entries. These can be left over from incomplete installations, incomplete uninstall routines. Many other problems arise. A user may move an application file without realizing that dozens of registry entries point to the old location. Application errors can leave traces in the registry. Malicious intruders as well, as I’ve discussed on several occasions. When the registry goes bad your problems can vary from annoying to disastrous. The most common ailment is that the computer slows down. Another common problem is that clicking on shortcuts doesn’t start the program. Further down the scale, some programs won’t run at all. More disastrously still, Windows functions only work intermittently or not at all. In the past I recommended Norton System Works. Its one step cleanup is good at setting some minor problems in the registry right. I suggested a utility called JV-16 for a thorough cleanup of the registry. JV-16 is no longer in business. It’s time to choose a new registry cleaner.

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GEORGE BUSH AND THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES: Why There Hasnt Been Another 9-11

There has been a rumor floating in the Washington ether for some time now that George Bush has figured out what Sword of Damocles is suspended over Osama Bin Laden’s head. It’s whispered among Capitol Hill staffers on the intel and armed services committees; White House NSC (National Security Council) members clam up tight if you begin to hint at it; and State Department neo-cons love to give their liberal counterparts cardiac arrhythmia by elliptically conversing about it in their presence. The whispers and hints and ellipses are getting louder now because the rumor explains the inexplicable: Why hasn’t there been a repeat of 9-11? How can it be that after this unimaginable tragedy and Osama’s constant threats of another, we have gone over three years without a single terrorist attack on American soil? The proximate reasons aren’t sufficient: that we have taken the fight to the enemy in Iraq, drawing their attention and energy away from America; that the intel and law-enforcement folks have caught and prevented a number of planned attacks. These are good reasons why there haven’t been more attacks - but they don’t explain why there haven’t been any.

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THE TSUNAMI WE NEED

Of all the tsunami pictures I have seen, this one, a wall of water 20 feet high sweeping into Patong Bay, Thailand, best visualizes its horrendous destructive power. What we need now is one like this targeting Turtle Bay, Manhattan to sweep away the United Nations.

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THE ROCK OF AMERICA

As I prepare to go out and celebrate New Year 2005 -- I plan to celebrate the majestic and history-making election of 2004. What makes this an epochal election is what it says about the American public. After Nov. 2, the world now knows that Americans intend to stand and fight. The American public had every excuse to cut and run. Had they elected Mr. Kerry, the world would have correctly judged it a repudiation of Mr. Bush's aggressive war strategy. But the American public stuck. And in so doing they have created a world-historic event. In the face of an insurgent, violent, radical Islam, a solid majority of the American public does not intend to yield an inch. In a storm-tossed sea, the American public is a rock. It is more than a rock. It is the rock on which civilization will make its stand. Americans are standing upright, their strong arms uplifted against the barbarians.

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