Health advisory: omega-6 fatty acids help the heart

Omega-6 can be found in nutsA new study highlights the benefits of natural foods, while another finds link between processed meat and serious health risks.

Omega-6 fatty acids – which can be found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils – have a beneficial impact on the heart and should be a part of a healthy diet, according to a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.

According to the association, numerous studies have indicated that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fatty acids, of which omega-6 is one type, lowers the risk of heart disease by 24 percent.

That is because "[w]hen saturated fat in the diet is replaced by omega-6, the blood cholesterol levels go down," explains Dr. William Harris, director of the Metabolism and Nutrition Research Center at the University of South Dakota.

This seems to underscore the value of eating natural foods – such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats – as opposed to processed products. Reuters news agency has reported on a new study by researchers at Harvard which links the consumption of processed meats such as hot dogs to a greater risk of leukemia in children.

The human body does not have the capacity to produce omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, but they play a crucial role in heart and brain function and in normal growth and development, concludes the AHA advisory.

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Growing risk of deadly drug interactions among the elderly

Older people are at risk of suffering from drug interactionsDangers of an overmedicated society have been highlighted by a study which has found that middle-aged and elderly patients face an unprecedented risk of dangerous drug interactions.

Researchers from The University of Chicago found that among patients between 57 and 85 years of age, one in 25 people is at risk of harmful drug-drug interactions, while 91 percent take at least one prescription drug.

"In our study, men and women were equally likely to report a history of cardiovascular disease," said co-author Dr. Dima M. Qato of the University of Chicago.

The study, which was published in the December issue of the Journal of American Medical Association, drew attention to the fact that the elderly population is growing – so if measures are not taken to remedy the problem it is likely to get worse.

Around 50 percent of the drug-drug interactions identified involved potential bleeding problems. Most commonly, wafarin, a prescription anti-coagulant, was found to cause bleeding if combined with aspirin, which also interferes with clotting.

Other potentially deadly interactions included elevated potassium levels and muscle breakdown.

According to expert Dr. Clark Gillespie, although the FDA’s resources and funding have fallen behind, the fact that not all possible drug interactions are explored during clinical trials is due mainly to what he terms "a pressing medical and business environment."
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Government secrets available at a thrift store

A New Zealand man gained access to sensitive U.S. dataAfter a recent scathing report on federal agencies’ failure to comply with civil rights regulations, another story brings home the need for better oversight of sensitive data by the U.S. government.

A New Zealand man who bought an old MP3 player at an Oklahoma thrift store for $9 discovered that it contained 60 files with confidential military information including the names and personal details of American soldiers, according to New Zealand television reports.

"When you can identify American personnel, when you have their names, their home address, their cell phone numbers, you put people in a dangerous position," Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington was quoted as saying by CNN.

Pentagon officials contacted by the network admitted that they were aware of the situation, but declined to provide further comments.

This is hardly the first instance of government’s negligence in handling sensitive personal information. In 2006, a Department of Veterans Affairs subcontractor lost a computer with insurance claim data of patients at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia VA Medical Centers.

The story broke just days after a USA Today report listed several federal agencies which failed to appoint civil liberties protection officers and report to Congress on the efforts to safeguards private citizens’ personal information.
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Colloidal Silver History

Until the beginning of the development of modern antibiotics in the 1940s, colloidal silver was the natural antibiotic of choice and had been for 50 years. Pharmaceutical antibiotics looked like miracles because in the beginning there were no antibiotic-resistant strains of disease organisms. There was a lot of excitement over the new wonder drugs. So naturally, colloidal silver disappeared into the memory hole.

But as there are more and more resistant strains to antibiotics, colloidal silver is reappearing. There is no doubt about the anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties of colloidal silver.

The most resounding recommendation of colloidal silver, at this time, is that it has been officially disapproved of by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA fronts for big pharma, who do not want any competition from a low-cost natural antibiotic like colloidal silver.

The only caveat is that the overuse of certain types of protein-bound silver compounds cause a gray discoloration of the skin called argyria. Most colloidal silver preparations do not have this risk because they are prepared as a homeopathic substance rather than an antibiotic with, of course, the same medicinal effect.

Gold prices volatile as economic reports show home values plunging

Gold is volatile in the current economyCommodity prices seesawed this week as a slew of economic reports depressed the markets and the U.S. government launched another initiative to promote economic recovery.

Gold prices hit $915 on Monday, the highest level in three months, before retreating later in the week as stocks rallied in the expectation of the House passing a new stimulus package.

The stormy week follows several major economic reports which suggest that the recession is deepening. Data from the S&P/Case-Shiller report for the 20 largest metropolitan areas show that in November U.S. house values fell by a precipitous 18.2 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, job losses continued across the country, and the Conference Board reported a fall in its consumer confidence index to 37.7. In 1985, the index stood at 100.

Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, told Reuters that "the adverse feedback loop from extremely tight credit conditions to reduced asset prices and … reductions in demand for labor services continued to spin at an alarming velocity in January."

Falling house prices not only destroy wealth, but they make banks even more reluctant to extend credit creating a vicious cycle of ever-reducing purchasing power.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed an $819 million stimulus package intended to restart the U.S. economy.
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BPA exposure higher than expected, linked to health problems

A chemical in plastic may enter the body through a variety of meansA new study draws attention to previously unknown health risks associated with a common plastics chemical.

Scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center, writing in the journal Environmental Heath Perspectives, found that the half-life of bisphenol A (BPA) is longer than expected, and they suspect that exposure to the chemical may therefore take place via non-alimentary routes as well.

This challenges previously held beliefs that food is the main source of BPA, and that it is completely excreted from the body.

The researchers, led by Dr. Richard W. Stahlhut of the University of Rochester’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, theorize that additional BPA exposure may come from dust or tap water and that, moreover, it may accumulate in the fat tissue inside the body.

However, they caution that more research is needed to determine if that is indeed the case.

Last September, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported risks associated with exposure to BPA which include brain damage in fetuses and higher risk for heart disease and diabetes in adults.

BPA is a component of many plastics that are commonly used to manufacture a range of consumer products including baby bottles and food containers, but also water pipes.
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Merger to create a giant pharmaceutical company

Pfizer and Wyeth are set to mergeTwo major drug companies have announced plans to merge to create the world’s fourth largest enterprise.

Pfizer and Wyeth – the first and ninth biggest pharmaceutical companies by revenue, respectively- are to consolidate in a deal that could create the world’s fourth largest company after Exxon, Wal-Mart, and Procter&Gamble, the New York Times reports.

Experts stress that the deal may have as much to do with new research opportunities as with cost-cutting. "Pfizer and Wyeth combine sales forces and other operations, they will have a sleeker cost structure," Erik Gordon, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan told the NYT.

Still, the deal could transform Pfizer from a purely pharmaceutical company into a diversified healthcare giant on account of Wyeth’s huge portfolio of biotech drugs, vaccines, and consumer health products from Advil to Robitussin, according to the Associated Press.

Pfizer, with the largest revenue of any drug company worldwide, derives most of its sales from the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Statins such as Lipitor have been linked to a number of side effects, the most common of which are muscle problems.
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Studies: corn syrup, other foods contaminated with mercury

Some products with HFCS contains mercuryResearchers have discovered that U.S.-produced corn syrup contains high levels of a dangerous chemical element.

The study – conducted by a group led by a former FDA scientist Renee Dufault and published in the journal Environmental Health – found mercury in detectable quantities in nine of the 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that it tested.

Dufault said that although she informed the FDA of her findings, the agency failed to respond.

Taking the cue from her work, another group looked at common foods and beverages containing corn syrup and found that many of them, including barbecue sauce, yogurt and chocolate syrup, contained detectable mercury levels.

"We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," said Dr David Wallinga, a food safety researcher at the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, who led the study.

In a statement, the Corn Refiners Association criticized the studies as inaccurate and "of dubious significance."

According to the Washington Post, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons of HFCS a day on average, but teens and other high consumers may take up to 80 percent more.

Exposure to mercury has been linked to brain damage in children.
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World celebrates Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day is January 28Events to educate consumers about data protection have been held to mark Data Privacy Day on January 28.

Online privacy breaches are a growing problem, and companies from My Space to Microsoft are racing to provide users with tips on safe management of online data.

Microsoft is hosting a forum at the San Francisco Public Library today which includes a panel discussion of online privacy among industry experts, advocates and policymakers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

A popular business technology website itpro.com has compiled a list of five most important online security tips. They include using security software and installing updates to operating systems, but also limiting the amount of personal information that users make available on social networking sites.

There is also an increasing talk about data encryption for businesses. Jamie Cowper of PGP, an enterprise security company, told the website that "an enterprise-wide approach to security must be taken which focuses on defending the data, not simply protecting the network."

He also stressed the need for better business oversight of employee practices when it comes to dealing with private data. "Data is now the currency of the internet and organizational policies must reflect that," he said.

The Data Privacy Day comes shortly after a controversial decision by the White House to exempt You Tube from federal privacy rules which was later reversed.
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Top retirement funds lose $1 trillion

Retirement funds are still losing moneyA disturbing report from a leading money management newspaper suggests that U.S. pension funds have sustained heavy losses in 2008.

The survey by Pensions & Investments revealed that the loss of close to $1 trillion in the year ended September 2008 represented the worst decline of the 1,000 largest plans that it has tracked for 30 years.

The fourth quarter of 2008 made it even worse – based on P&I estimates assets fell another $754 billion, or 11.8 percent, to a cumulative loss of $1.7 trillion for the 15 months ended Dec. 31.

According to the newspaper’s editor Nancy K. Webman, this was largely due to collapsing returns from equity markets.

Kevin P. Quirk, founding partner and principal of industry researcher Casey Quirk & Associates, observed that the results may spell an end to the corporate defined-benefit plans.

Meanwhile, Watson Wyatt Worldwide reported that retirement assets of the 11 largest foreign pension markets fell 19 percent in 2008, wiping out some $5 trillion. The only country that was spared major losses was Germany, where funds are characterized by high bond allocations.
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Understanding the IRS Tax Code

While in office, President Ronald Reagan said that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collection process and its code is a system of voodoo and witchcraft.

The IRS has been in existence so long that few question its legality or even its existence. But the longevity and general acceptability of the IRS in no way means that it is not immoral, illegal or against public policy.

The IRS system is actually the foundation of the Federal Reserve fiat money system. It is life support for paper money. Huge amounts of money have to be continually withdrawn so that the system isn’t overwhelmed with fiat and collapses.

By its name, the Internal Revenue Service implies that it collects revenue for the government. This is what Americans believe.

Lord John Maynard Keynes said in his 1920 book, Economic Consequences of the Peace, that collection of taxes is a regulation system that hides the “worthlessness” of paper money. Taking money under the pretense of collecting taxes covers the fraud of printing press money.

It is not taxes that the IRS is collecting. It is regulating the volume of fiat money so as to hold up its “value.”

But the IRS says that its tax collection system is “voluntary compliance.” No one need be intimidated. Let’s see!

Unless you sign the IRS 1040 tax return, the IRS will refuse it. If it is voluntary, why sign it? Big things happen when you do sign the 1040. You waive your rights, meaning that you are guilty until you can prove otherwise.

The burden of proof is on you.  Furthermore, once you sign a tax form, you are no longer protected under the U.S. Constitution. You are under Merchant Law or Admiralty Law or the King’s Law. Your status changes from sovereign to subject.

Also, after you once sign a 1040, you are under a new jurisdiction. If you later learn there is no law requiring you to file and pay taxes, and you decide that you will not file, you will be prosecuted under IRS Code 7203 or “Willful Failure to File.” This is a conclusion that once you file, you can’t just decide to quit. You are no longer sovereign. You are a subject.

Remember that this is all “voluntary.’

The IRS Handbook for Special Agents states, “An individual taxpayer may refuse to exhibit his/her books and records for examination…under the Fifth Amendment.”

Yes, you can do this, but then the IRS files your return for you, disallowing all deductions.

You can also refuse to sign an assessment, but then the IRS begins collection procedures taking any visible property or bank account by seizure.

IRS agents who move against the “taxpayer” have no idea what they are doing. I think most are not malicious, but they do believe that you owe taxes. They don’t know that the money creators create unlimited fiat that voids any concept or definition of payment or debt as relates to government. It is a world-class ponzi.

The federal tax system is entrenched because tens of thousands of lawyers, accountants and parasites profit from the system. They don’t care if the deceptive system is illegal, immoral or against public policy. They are numb to their bones.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate tax protesting or any acts of disobedience as defined by the government that will disorder your life and confiscate your assets. This item is for information purposes only. It is intended that you will see the full consequences of any action you decide while understanding what your government and politicians have done to America. This is a subject that none of them will discuss.

Consumer group decries proposed sale of medical records

Concerns about privacy and medical records raisedConsumer Watchdog has raised a number of privacy concerns regarding how electronic medical records, when introduced, will be able to be used.

The group has sent a letter to Congress commenting on reported actions by Google to weaken the ban on the sale of these records, among other issues.

Google reportedly hopes to sell patients’ medical information to advertisers on its new health database, the watchdog claims.

According to Congressional Watchdog, Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri has also added an amendment to the House version of the bill that permits pharmacists to sell Americans’ health data without people’s permission.

The group also objects to an amendment allowing firms to sell data for research purposes, which it suggests could lead to pharmaceutical companies and insurers exploiting this information.

"First and foremost, electronic medical records should be designed to benefit patients, not the corporate interests lobbying hard on Capitol Hill to get a piece of the $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies provided for this project," the letter states.

President Obama has pledged to introduce electronic medical records to improve communication within the health system. However, many questions remain about how to best protect patients’ privacy.
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Drug companies found polluting India’s rivers

Pharma companies are dumping chemicals in India's riversResearchers have found high concentrations of numerous chemicals in treated wastewater in India which they say come from local pharmaceutical companies.

A team of scientists led by Joakim Larsson from Goteborg University in Sweden found that the water from the Patancheru Enviro Tech plant in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where these companies discharge their trash, contained 21 different drug components.

Some of these were in the highest concentration ever detected in nature, according to the Associated Press.

As this water eventually finds its way to human and animal water supply, the local populations – some of them extremely poor – are being exposed to potentially harmful chemicals.

Given the presence of powerful antibiotics in the water samples, concerns have also been raised about proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria in the environment.

Dr A. Kishan Rao, who has treated patients in the region for 30 years, acknowledged the presence of resistance and told the AP that "European countries and the U.S. are protecting their environment and importing the drugs at the cost of the people in developing countries."

The Pancheru region of India is home to numerous companies producing drugs for international markets. By 2025 close to 80 percent of generic drugs sold in the United States will come from India and China, according to Global Insight.
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Damning assessment of fed agencies’ civil liberties record

Not all agencies are reporting to Congress as they are supposed toGovernment records indicate that key federal agencies have fallen short on compliance with existing laws protecting civil liberties.

According to USA Today, the departments of Defense, State, and Health and Human Services have failed to appoint civil liberties protection officers and report to Congress on a regular basis on the safeguards they use to ensure that their programs respect public rights and privacy, despite a 2007 law mandating them to do so.

In addition to that, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has not convened publicly since 2006.

One expert quoted by the newspaper expressed concern at these findings given that the departments in question hold citizens’ passport and medical data.

Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told USA Today that if the agencies upheld the required standards, issues such as innocent people’s names appearing on terrorist watchlists could have been avoided.

Top members of the Senate Homeland Security committee have criticized the agencies and vowed to hold them accountable.

USA Today has verified that Homeland Security, Treasury, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have complied with the law requiring eight federal departments and agencies to have civil liberties officers and file reports to Congress.
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Kerry: Government-sanctioned torture weakened America

Kerry speaks out about torture and libertiesCommenting on President Obama’s first executive orders, a senior senator hails a new era but bemoans the damage sustained by America’s national security.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts wrote in a commentary published on CNN.com that the eventual closure of Guantanamo Bay and CIA detention centers around the world, as well as the ban on torture, will restore America’s moral leadership by reaffirming its founding principles of the rule of law and respect for individual rights.

However, he stressed the difficulties lying ahead, including questionable evidence extracted using coercion that may be inadmissible in U.S. courts and the threat posed by some of the former detainees who are known to have returned to terrorist training camps.

Nonetheless, quoting Obama’s inauguration address in which he called on Americans to "reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals," Kerry welcomed what he saw as a new era in America’s relations with the outside world, and in particular with the Middle East.

Last Thursday Obama reversed the essence of the Bush administration’s approach to the prosecution of the war on terror by signing an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and to ban harsh interrogations techniques.
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Banks: Democrats’ stimulus plan may be insufficient

The stimulus package may not work as plannedResearchers from major U.S. banks claim that the impact of the proposed stimulus package may be smaller than meets the eye.

Alec Phillips, an economist at Goldman Sachs, was quoted by Reuters as saying that of the $825 billion package under consideration by Congress, only about $250 billion will make it into the economy in 2009.

His assessments are echoed by Richard Berner, from Morgan Stanley, who believes that the Obama team’s economic policy proposals – which rely on a mix of tax cuts and higher spending – "don’t get to the causes of this downturn – they mainly tackle its symptoms," according to the news service.

Barack Obama pledged to make an economic stimulus package a top priority of his new presidency – and still hopes to push relevant legislation through by mid-February – but recent reports indicate that he is facing mounting opposition from the Republicans.

And voices calling for the government to set up a "bad loans" bank to collect all the toxic debt are growing increasingly louder.

As the debate continues, on Wall Street bank shares have hit historic lows, with such erstwhile giants as Goldman Sachs trading at less than 40 percent of its value compared to last year.
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ADHD drugs linked to hallucinations

ADHD medications may have side effectsMedications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children may cause hallucinations, according to new research.

Scientists at the FDA looked at the results of 49 clinical studies of drugs including Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera and other common medications used to treat ADHD – a condition affecting up to 7 percent of American children.

"The numbers of cases of psychosis or mania in pediatric clinical trials were small," the researchers wrote, according to Reuters. "However, we noted a complete absence of such events with placebo treatments."

In some of the cases analyzed, young children had the sensation that worms or insects were crawling on their bodies. Ninety percent of the time, the kids had no previous history of similar psychiatric problems.

Approximately 4.3 percent of the nation’s children take drugs to treat symptoms of ADHD, which include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Previous research of ADHD drugs has found other dangers, including an increased risk of stunted growth among children taking Ritalin.

More common side effects of these medications include sleep problems and loss of appetite.
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Serious Health Risks Associated With Prostate Cancer Treatment

Conventional medicine aggressively attacks prostate cancer with androgen blockade or androgen deprivation.

In humans (predominantly males), the major androgen is testosterone. Natural testosterone is an elixir of life. It rises in youth (predominately males) to about age 25, and then it begins to decline. Researchers claim that aging and deterioration of health occurs with declining testosterone.

Natural testosterone, not to be confused with synthetic steroid drugs, “has been scientifically shown to enhance sexuality, vitality, cardiovascular health and general health.” (From the book, Maximize Your Vitality and Potency for Men Over 40 by Jonathan Wright, M.D. and Lane Lenard, Ph.D.)

Conventional medicine, sometimes referred to as “orthodox medicine,” hatched this “androgen blockade” as a procedure in cancer treatment usually followed by a prostate operation leaving most men impotent, along with other serious complications. Well, you know the story. It has a monotonously fatal ring to it.

Now researchers say that cardiovascular mortality, in some cases, follows androgen deprivation (blockade) and that it is associated with a greater risk of coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction and diabetes.

Prostate doctors are loose with their prostate cancer patients, as well as all prostate patients with high prostate specific antigen (PSA) measurements.

Before any man agrees to androgen blockade or a prostate operation, they should read Jonathan Wright’s book, Maximize Your Vitality and Potency for Men Over 40.

Testosterone is nature’s answer for vitality, health and longevity.

I personally use 5 percent testosterone by prescription from a compounding pharmacy. Women need about one-tenth as much testosterone as men, but they do need it.

Vitamin D ‘important for cognitive health’

Vitamin D supplements can help cognitive healthA deficiency of vitamin D can lead to cognitive decline among older people, according to new research.

Scientists from the Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan found that levels of vitamin D were important for cognitive health.

In fact, as levels of vitamin D went down, the rate of cognitive impairment rose, they reported in the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology.

Dr. Iain Lang of Peninsula Medical School stressed the importance of getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D, particularly in areas where the winters are dark.

"Getting enough vitamin D can be a real problem – particularly for older people who absorb less vitamin D from sunlight," he said. "One way to address this might be to provide older adults with vitamin D supplements."

Identifying ways of preventing cognitive decline is important because these early memory problems can progress into dementia, Lang explained.

Folic acid and omega-3 fish oil are two other nutritional supplements that some health experts have recommended to help keep the mind sharp.
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Privacy concerns about electronic health records

Health records may not let you opt outAmericans deserve the right to opt out of participating in a national database of electronic health records, according to the Institute for Health Freedom.

The IHF says that President Obama’s economic stimulus bill contains plans to create an electronic health record for every person in the U.S. by 2014.

Obama has said that electronic records will help facilitate the sharing of information, advance research and improve patient treatments.

However, the IHF points out that the bill does not include a provision for a patient to opt out or consent to participating in this system.

Sue A. Blevins of IHF explained that without those protections, individuals’ health records could be shared with hundreds of thousands of covered entities throughout the network.

"Unless people have the right to decide if and when their health information is shared or whether to participate in research studies, they don’t have a true right to privacy," she said.

The IHF has also called for patient consent to be added to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

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Report: Inflation on the horizon with Obama plan

We could see inflation in the next yearThe U.S. is likely to face rapidly escalating inflation within the year, as the government moves to print money quickly, a new report suggests.

According to CIBC World Markets, the Obama administration will print money "at an unprecedented rate" to fund an economic stimulus package and address the growing federal deficit.

Jeff Rubin, chief economist and strategist at CIBC World Markets, compared the coming inflation crisis to that of Argentina in the late 1980s and Zimbabwe today.

He added that there is also an American precedent for driving up inflation by printing money. For example, inflation was in the double-digits in 1947 after a World War II deficit, while the periods after the Korean and Vietnam wars also showed similar effects.

Rubin predicted that although consumer price index inflation is currently falling, it could be at more than 4 percent within a year.

"Already the U.S. money supply is growing at a nearly 20 percent rate in the last three months and the printing presses are just warming up," he said.

December figures showed consumer prices increased by the smallest percentage in the past 54 years.
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