Dr. Jack Wheeler
Reading Ann Coulter’s new book, Treason is a lot of fun. She has to be the ballsiest chick in America. Part of what makes her so cool is that you know she would love that description of her.
Aside from the sheer enjoyment of watching her rhetorically eviscerate liberals, she performs a great public service in rehabilitating Joe McCarthy and exposing the Myth of McCarthyism. “McCarthyism is one of the markers on the left’s Via Dolorossa,” she observes. “It is their slavery, their gulag, their potato famine. Otherwise liberals would just be geeks from Manhattan and Hollywood.”
So let’s go Continue reading
A great many conservatives are seriously steamed about George Bush even thinking about sending American soldiers to fight and possibly die in some Liberian Rumble in the Jungle.
Liberal Democrats only advocate putting American soldiers in harm’s way when they perceive no US national security interest. Whenever there is such an interest, they are dependably opposed. Thus they were against the War in Iraq but are now all for Americans getting shot in Liberia by rival gangs of heavily armed thugs stoned on marijuana.
The last place in the world American soldiers should be sent to is some anarchic hell-hole Continue reading
The military threat of North Korea is not its nukes. They are a geostrategic threat, as they will be sold to rogue states and terrorist groups. The military threat is the 11,000 artillery tubes dug in the mountains along the North Korean side of the DMZ, 500 of which are long-range.
My friend Edward Goodliffe called me yesterday from the offices of Pan Southern Petroleum Corp. in Puckett, Mississippi. He’s on Pan Southern’s board and wanted to tell me about a fascinating oil play he thought ToThePointers should know about.
There’s a small reserve in a remote area of the state called Bentonia Field. It was drilled in the late 1980s by Coho Resources and has thus far yielded 1,700,000 barrels of oil from multiple pay zones. Coho, however, has suffered massive mismanagement and has gone in and out of bankruptcy several times. Bentonia became neglected, with its equipment falling into Continue reading
Book Discussion : Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Scholastic: 2003)
Like so many other kids, my son learned how to read by reading Harry Potter. He was five years old, and would sit next to me as I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to him.
He began picking out words as his eyes followed my hand moving down the page as I read. Then phrases, then parts of sentences, and by the end of the book, entire sentences. That was in 1997. When Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came out the next year, Continue reading
BOOK DISCUSSION : Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers (Random House, 2003)
It’s a great concept: A guy makes a killing on Wall Street, then drives a bright yellow Mercedes 152,000 miles around the world through 116 countries with his girlfriend (later wife), making interesting observations and giving you valuable investment advice all along the way.
Well, it’s a concept. This book is a real rough ride. There’s “take-home value” here that you can use for your portfolio’s benefit, but there are so many chuckholes, so many intellectual flat tires that the journey can be grindingly infuriating.
Rogers is one of Continue reading
I do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. Yet there is now in place a full alignment of “the correlation of forces,” driving the US economy forward. Thus I am going to predict that the DOW will be above 10,000 by October. What’s more, it will stay above 10,000 throughout 2004. Did Y2K Cause the Recession?
There is an interesting theory claiming that Y2K helped precipitate the recession. Remember that it began March 2000 when the Dow and Nasdaq peaked. What happened was that in preparation for Y2K, corporate America compressed four years of IT Continue reading
The picture here is of my son, Jackson, next to a prehistoric pictograph of an elephant in the heart of the Sahara Desert. It was carved in the rock thousands of years ago by ancient hunters when the Sahara was like East Africa is today, a well-watered grassland teeming with life.
Hannibal was able to acquire Saharan elephants for his army when he famously crossed the Alps to attack Rome in 218 BC. 2,197 years later, I conducted an expedition that retraced Hannibal’s route over the pass he used — the Col du Clapier on the French-Italian border — with Continue reading
There is a group of human beings whom I find to be unintelligibly mysterious. In fact, I believe them to be aliens who, while visiting earth occasionally, actually reside in a space ship floating in the interstellar ether. I am referring, of course, to currency traders.
For the most part, other kinds of traders — guys who make it their profession to trade things like stocks or bonds or commodity futures — are normal people. For the most part, currency traders are nuts.
There is simply no explanation for the euro rocketing up far above the dollar since the US Continue reading
I could not suggest more strongly that you read Bernard Lewis’ latest book, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (Modern Library, 2003). Its compact 164 pages contain an abundance of revelations.
We are so often told, for example, that a basic cause of the hatred radical Moslems feel for the West is the Crusades. Yet, Mr. Lewis explains, the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099 was largely ignored by the main Moslem powers in nearby Damascus and in Baghdad. After Saladin retook the city in 1187, the Moslem world forgot about it for 700 years, until Continue reading
The World Health Organization or WHO announced today that “the worst is over” regarding the SARS epidemic in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada. WHO pronounced Vietnam for being the first country to eradicate the disease, and praised it for doing so transparently, quickly, and efficiently.
One reason Vietnam was able to do so is because it closed its border with China. For notably absent in the WHO announcement was any praise for China. The worst is not over for China. The worst — far worse — is yet to come.
90% of SARS cases worldwide to this day are Continue reading
My youngest son Jackson and I will be making a trip to the North Pole this month. I started leading expeditions to the North Pole in 1978. This will be my 21st time to 90 North, the apex of the world. It will be Jackson’s 3rd. He’s 10 years old.
People often ask me: "Why in the world would you go to the North Pole so many times?" My stock answer is: "Because people keep paying me to take them there." But it is so much more than that.
Standing on the sea ice of the frozen Arctic Ocean, the Continue reading
This month we’re going to focus upon books on Islam. The first thing to do in this regard, however, is to go into the To The Point Archives and read the Myth of Mecca article. It explains how the religion of Islam was invented as a religious rationale to justify Arab imperialism. At the end of that article, you’ll see a list of sources, all of which I strongly recommend as works of serious professional scholarship:
• Al-Rawandi, I.M. Origins of Islam: A Critical Look at the Sources. Prometheus, 2000 • Crone, P.M. Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam. Oxford, 1987.** Continue reading
STRATEGIC INVESTMENT, January 2003
One hundred and sixty years ago, in 1843, the Commissioner of the US Patent Office, Henry Ellsworth, reported to Congress: “The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end.” (This is the source of the spurious quote attributed in 1899 to Ellsworth’s successor, Charles Duell, who never said “Everything that can be invented has been invented”).
Human improvement did not come to an end in 1843, nor will it in 2003. In fact, I think 2003 is going to Continue reading
One of the meta-reasons America won the Cold War is that Russians play chess, while Americans play poker. Chess demands great skill and intelligence, particularly at developing complex long-range strategies and anticipating your opponent's moves. But it bears little resemblance to life in the real world. It is completely static and open. Nothing is hidden. Poker is very different. You have to guess what your opponent has and the extent to which he is bluffing. In business, in politics, in life in general, the folks who know how to play poker will almost always fare better than those who know how to play chess.
In the deepest heart of the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, just south of the Flaming Cliffs where Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur eggs in the 1920s, there is a naked spine of mountains called the Gurvan Saihan. In the Gurvan Saihan there is a valley called Yol Alyn, the Vulture’s Mouth. And in the Vulture’s Mouth, there is a glacier.
It is not a big glacier, the ice buildup of a stream that refuses to melt even in the heat of the Gobi summer. But it is a glacier nonetheless, thick enough for my son Jackson and I to walk Continue reading
When penguins in Antarctica get hungry, they get nervous. Grouped together on an iceberg, none of them wants to be the first to jump in the water and go fishing — because there just might be a leopard seal waiting for them. There’s nothing in the sea a leopard seal finds more tasty to eat than fresh penguin.
So the waddle (on land or ice, a group of penguins is a waddle; in the water, it’s a raft) bunches together, the ones in the back pushing forward, the ones in the front backing up away from the ice edge. When Continue reading
As many recent commentaries have noted, there was no unified command of Afghan “Mujahaddin” freedom fighters resisting the Soviet occupation of their country in the 1980s. There were about half a dozen major groups and a host of smaller ones.
The legendary commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated by OBL (Osama Bin Laden) agents just before The Atrocity, belonged to the “Jamiat” group led by Burhanuddin Rabbani. Qari Baba, the famous commander in Ghazni who looked like a cross between Buddha and Genghiz Khan, was part of the Harakat group. Ramatullah Safi was the most outstanding commander of the Gailani group. Continue reading
For an increasing number of Islamic historians, the tradition of Mohammed being the source and explanation of the Arab Conquest, wherein Arab tribesmen on horseback emerged out of the Arabian deserts to conquer Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Spain in less than 80 years (636-712), stands history on its head. They demonstrate that the story of Mohammed uniting various Arab tribes as Genghiz Khan did for the Mongols, and providing them with the religious fervor to conquer in the name of Islam, is "sacred history," rather than real history.
Jack Wheeler Strategic Investor, July 2001
The origin of the phrase “thinking out of the box” comes from an intelligence test called the Nine Dot Box. Imagine three rows of three dots, each equally spaced some distance apart on a regular piece of paper. The task is to connect the dots with a minimum number of lines drawn by a pen or pencil. The only rules are: you must draw a line through every dot once and only once, all lines must be straight (no curves), and your pen/pencil cannot leave the paper.
Most people cannot figure out how to do Continue reading
I am writing this in Zermatt, Switzerland. August is a time of year to wish for politics to go away. Besides, when you bother to check the news (maybe once a week or so), the headlines never seem to change: the Arab-Israeli "peace talks" continue to no avail, there are floods in Bangladesh, and so forth.
Thus I thought you might indulge me in a summer soliloquy about life and meaning and purpose — something over which to relax and contemplate as a diversion from important summer questions such as whether the inside of your forearms are as tan as Continue reading
Early last October, a senior White House henchman, let’s call him Richard Head, paid Janet Reno a visit. The conversation went something like this.
Head: Ms. Reno, the president is very concerned that you do the right thing regarding criminal investigations of his administration.
Reno: That’s reassuring, Richard — may I call you Dick?
Head: Yes — so we at the White House would like you to prosecute Bill.
Reno (spilling her coffee): Prosecute the president? But I thought no matter how massive the evidence against him, I was to stonewall…
Head: No, Ms. Reno, that’s the wrong Bill — Continue reading