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gen-xyzWith the failure of the Republican Party to achieve a red wave in the midterm elections, many explanations — and accusations — are being bandied about.  Blame is attributed to abortion, Trump endorsements, election integrity, and voter fraud, and the shifting of millions of votes to Democrats by Google, Facebook, and other tech monopolies.

Marketing expert Mark Beal from the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information believes there is still another factor in the election that is being overlooked: the impact of Generation Z.  An expert on this group (born between 1997 and 2015), Beal says they will wield increasing influence on local, state, and national election outcomes.

Xi Van Fleet, who as a child lived under the tyranny of Mao's Cultural Revolution and his young Red Guards, told a Dallas audience recently that she believed she had left communism behind forever, only to find that her son is now a Bernie Sanders–supporter after being indoctrinated in communism in public schools. Her son epitomizes Gen Z.



Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov

From numerous perspectives, when viewed from a bang-per-buck perspective, US and Western support for Ukraine is an incredibly cost-effective investment.

Altogether, the Biden administration received Congressional approval for $40bn in aid for Ukraine for 2022 and has requested an additional $37.7bn for 2022. More than half of this aid has been earmarked for defense.

These sums pale into insignificance when set against a total US defense budget of $715bn for 2022. The assistance represents 5.6% of total US defense spending. But Russia is a primary adversary of the US, a top tier rival not too far behind China, its number one strategic challenger.

In cold, geopolitical terms, this war provides a prime opportunity for the US to erode and degrade Russia’s conventional defense capability, with no boots on the ground and little risk to US lives.



Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland

Attorney General Merrick Garland has just announced the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith.

But Smith’s team will not look into the Biden family quid pro quo syndicate nor its incriminating confessionals on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Instead, it will further investigate Donald Trump’s possession of presidential records that were hauled off from Mar-a-Lago, as well as his purported role in the January 6 “insurrection.”

We know the script that will follow because we suffered through it for 22 months and spent $40 million for it under Robert Mueller’s special counsel team. Here’s what will happen.



kerala In 52 AD, St. Thomas the Apostle, one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples, sailed down the Red Sea and across the Arabian Sea to the Malabar Coast of Southwest India to preach the Gospel of Christ. He found a receptive audience among the peaceful fisherfolk in the villages along the coast – so receptive he established a series of churches that still exist today. Some remain small and humble, others like the one above rebuilt with soaring glass and stone.

There are many Christian denominations in the Indian state of Kerala, which has the entire Malabar Coast, from the original St. Thomas Syrian Christians to Catholic, Pentecostal, Charismatic and others. Of Kerala’s 34 million people, at least 20% are Christian. Kerala is a place of relaxing beauty and peaceful serenity. The best way to explore it is via a luxurious houseboat along the many canals or “backwaters” dotted with fishing villages and churches. You’ll be warmly welcomed. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #155, photo ©Jack Wheeler)



extovert-introvert-balancePeople who are extroverts – people who are more sociable, who like to be out, talk, and interact with other people, and who gladly put themselves out into new situations – tend to be happier than people who are not.

That’s great for those who, by temperament, happen to be extroverts. But what if we’re not naturally extroverted? We can still improve our overall happiness by doing extroverted things.

The delightful truth is that, from simply taking more extroverted actions, our overall happiness grows about the same as if we were naturally extroverted.

If you tend to be an introvert, if your natural comfort is to be more solitary, shy, or quietly inward, I’m not suggesting that you deny your nature, or pretend to be someone that you’re not. There are significant strengths to introversion that I’ll discuss in a moment.

But you can get some of the benefits of an extrovert as well by practicing certain skills; then you can have the best of both worlds.



mouth-of-hell On the south coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, there is a huge sea cave the aboriginal Tasmanians called The Mouth of Hell for the shrieking and moaning the waves and wind made emitting from it. Boatsmen prefer to enter it to this day protected by a cross on their fishing boat’s bow.

The wild beauty and mystery of Tasmania is absolutely extraordinary. At 35,000 square miles, it is the size of Maine with a population of less than half a million. Towns like Hobart and Launceston are charming, but the magic is in the uninhabited wilderness that makes up much of the island as a hiker’s paradise. That and a momentous coastline almost beyond belief.

If you’re ever in Oz, especially Melbourne, don’t miss the chance to explore Tasmania. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #150 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)



jw-at-emin-minaret-in-turfanThe Turfan Oasis in East Turkestan is far older than the Silk Road. Sitting in the Turfan Depression, second lowest on earth at over 500 feet below sea level) with a climate perfect for agriculture (like grapes for wine!), it was first settled by the Caucasian Tocharians some 4,000 years ago.

Over time it was absorbed into various empires ruling the Tarim Basin encircling the empty Takla Makan desert – proto-Mongols, the Tang Dynasty, the expanded Tibetan Empire at its height in the700s AD, Buddhist Uyghurs, and Genghiz’s Mongols. By the 1400s, the people of Turfan were mostly Buddhist or Nestorian Christian. By the end of the 15th century, they were ruled by the Moslem Moghuls who converted them to Islam.

Turfan was a key trading oasis on the Northern Silk Road which Marco Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolo and Maffeo traversed in 1266 to meet Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. (Marco’s route with them in 1271 took the less-traveled Southern Silk Road underneath or south of the Takla Makan). I traversed both Silk Roads in 2008. Here I am at the Emin Minaret in Turfan. It’s a fabulous place to explore. Maybe some day again? (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #239 photo ©Jack Wheeler)



Katie Hobbs, advocate of the Josef Dzhugashvilli Voting System

Katie Hobbs, advocate of the Josef Dzhugashvilli Voting System

Babylon Bee News Bulletin -- PHOENIX, AZ — In a stunning outcome to a highly scrutinized race, Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Secretary of State who counts the votes, has emerged victorious after 108% of the state's voting precincts reported in. Though mathematicians were puzzled by the plausibility — and, indeed, possibility — of the results, Democrats were quick to hail Hobbs's win as a victory for democracy itself.

"We knew things looked really bad for weeks leading up to election night, what with abysmal approval ratings for our party, Americans feeling negatively about the overall direction of the country, and Ms. Hobbs being afraid to debate her opponent or even appear in public," said Hobbs's campaign spokesperson Hailey Barber-Berger-Jorgensen. "But we felt very confident that once we got our vote tallies from all 108% of precincts, including those in other states and overseas, we would come out victorious."

Republicans were quick to point out that it's not actually possible to have more votes than voters. Democrats roundly condemned them for denying an election that was 8% more democratic than the last election.

At publishing time, Arizona election officials had notified all voting precincts that their tallies would not be needed and it was time to install even more drop-boxes for the 2024 election.



democracy-dies-in-darknessJust as the motto on the New York Times masthead – “All the news that’s fit to print” – is mendacious, so is WaPo’s. That’s why the sardonic meme above best describes the 2022 midterms farce.

Democracy in America really did die in darkness as election results have trickled in since Nov 8. How this happened is simple – the 2022 Midterms were The Voldemort Elections.

J.K. Rowling’s character of Voldemort, as Harry Potter’s arch-nemesis, strikes such fear within the wizard world that his name cannot be spoken, only referred to as He Who Cannot Be Named.

It is the same phenomenon the GOP world, in fear of being cursed as Election Deniers – an absolutely brilliant locution tainting all those who claim the 2020 presidency was rigged and stolen from Trump as on a despicable moral level as Holocaust Deniers.  So brilliant that it worked like a black magic charm in 2022.

There’s only one thing to do about it.



luangwa-lagoon-sunset It’s hard to find a better example of the glory of nature than here – a lagoon off the Luangwa River in Africa’s Zambia. It’s also hard to believe I took this picture just a few days ago – and now I’m back home, and Africa so far away.

It was so fulfilling, so rewarding for me, over the past weeks, to provide a life-memorable experience of real Africa to eight TTPers – they’ll never forget it ever. I plan to be here again soon – perhaps you’ll be with me. There’s a primordial magic in Africa that grips your soul like nowhere else. The wisdom of those most familiar with the world is: “If you can visit only two continents in your life, go to Africa – twice.” (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #145 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)