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Today is Thanksgiving. Here are many reasons to give thanks.

I give thanks because I’m here  in the U.S. and not in any of these places, all run by crazy  dictators:

Equatorial Guinea
Myanmar (Burma)
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
South Sudan

Dictators are rich because they run their country as their personal checkbook, taking whatever they please whenever they want. Such a life.

The richest ones have oil and gas revenues. Hence bigger goodies.

Putin is the richest person in the world — with houses, fast cars, mansions, castles and yachts.

Mbasogo of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea does good for himself and terribly for his people, most of whom survive in poverty. See below.

Nicolás Maduro, President of Venezuela, has destroyed his country by nationalizing every business.  More than seven million Venezuelans have fled. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. Hard to believe.

Oldest serving dictators

This guy

is His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. His Majesty was crowned on 1st August 1968 “in pomp and pageantry befitting Brunei’s ancient customs and traditions.” He’s been boss for 54 years.

This guy is

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, a former military officer who has served as the 2nd President of Equatorial Guinea since August 1979. That’s 43 years as boss.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

After a few years with absolute power, you come up with crazy ideas, like nationalizing all the businesses or invading Ukraine. Or locking up everyone to kill a virus that can’t be killed.

In the mid-1960s I visited many of these countries on my way from Australia to school  in the U.S. I would not return to places like Burma, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, or
Turkey. They were wonderful then. Today I’d be locked up if I stepped one foot  in.

Lebanon was a paradise when I visited it. They called it Paris of the Middle East. Now they call it a failed state.

When we Americans hear the word “corruption,”  we don’t understand how it affects and hurts the daily lives of everyone living in these places. To get anything done — like start a business or open a bank account, you need countless regulatory approvals. Each approval costs bribes. When you succeed, the bureaucrats come round with their hands out for more bribes.

Russia is the worst. The generals sell the supplies the Kremlin gives them to equip their forces.

Being thankful you’re not living in any of these places is a real good reason to give thanks for living here in the U.S. today.

Thanksgiving covid precautions

From the Mayo Clinic:

+ Use fans. Force germs outside.

+ Open windows.

+ Turn on exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.

+ If you have an HVAC system, switch it on instead of auto. Replace your old filter.

+ Plug in a portable air purifier.

+ Best, gather outside.

I got covid at my 80th Birthday Party in June — even though it was in a tent outside.

Please be careful. Long covid can be really dangerous.

Favorite cartoon

Favorite Tweat

What the Fed said

The Fed has said maybe smaller rate hikes going forward. The stockmarket liked that and bounced up. I now own a little GNRC. TSM and NVDA. In the main I’m short VGT.

I am very long one-year treasuries. I know that the interest on treasuries incurs Federal tax, but not state or local. I am buying my treasuries at a discount, which may or may not incur capital gains tax.

Some of my readers think I understand income tax on treasuries. Some think I don’t. I respect everyone’s opinion and enjoy my own ignorance — at least for the day. Every “expert” I’ve asked has given me a different answer.

Susan doesn’t want to see Miracle on 34th Street again or listen to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant — two traditional Thanksgiving Day fares.

I played tennis this morning. I talked to one of the kids on Facetime. They’re all away with their other families. Hence Susan and I will enjoy each other and the tranquility of Columbia County, NY.

After I post this on the Internet, I’ll have a nap.

My nap will have no dreams of buying Twitter or investing in bitcoin. No dreams of riches beyond my wildest afternoon nap dreams.

When in doubt, stay out. Thank you Todd.

Eat well. Be nice to the relatives, especially the one from Hell.

See you tomorrow, or so. — Harry Newton