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.

Near Term Outlook

A real washout in gold stocks and gold and silver are substantially down. This reminds me of 1973-74. There was blood in the streets.

The long-term commodity bull market is still intact. This bleeding correction has very positive implications. Number one, it will extend the bull market and number two, it is the greatest buying opportunity for gold and silver stocks as well as silver and gold coins. I have not sold anything.

It will take a while for this market to rebuild, but the wait will be rewarded. There is enough credit crisis and real estate collapse to trigger an economic tsunami like the world has never seen. Sentiment is terrible among financial writers.

I repeat that I do not believe that this current credit crisis is to culminate in a great financial collapse as many writers expect. But keep in mind that after this financial season comes the deluge. That is when you had better have your ducks in a row.

The government bailout simply means print more money.

I believe that if it is possible to create enough "money" fast enough, the system will rally a few months hence.

1) Look for banking stocks to begin a sustained rise. This is a very strong signal that the bottom is in and a crash has been averted.

2) When central bankers stop fighting inflation (which they caused with printing press money) and begin talking economic growth, this means that the new money floodgates are open.

3) Look for central banks to cut the prime rate and the discount rate.

4) The new administration will make Bush look like an economic conservative. I expect huge expenditures for repair and new infrastructure as well as many other construction projects. There will be another huge "stimulus" giveaway.

White House online privacy policy exempts YouTube

YouTube places cookies on users' browsersTechnology bloggers are raising questions about whether the White House is adhering to privacy rules that prohibit federal agencies from using cookies on their websites.

Chris Soghoian writes on that the privacy policy listed on the White House’s website states that YouTube has been exempted from the ban on "persistent cookies."

"The persistent cookie is used by YouTube to help maintain the integrity of video statistics," according to a message on the site.

These long-term tracking cookies are issued by a website to a user’s browser, where they are stored. Cookies allow websites to identify users and track their video viewing habits.

Soghoian points out that the White House offers users an opportunity to avoid having a cookie issued to their browser by providing a link to download the file.

However, several tests carried out by Soghoian indicated that cookies were being issued as soon as he landed on the page, regardless of whether he pressed the "play" button.

This raises several questions about how federal agencies can comply with the rules and protect their users’ privacy while simultaneously employing web 2.0 content such as YouTube videos, he says.

Clean air extends life by 5 months, study says

Tackling pollution is a public health issueCleaning up air pollution has the power to significantly benefit public health, extending life expectancy by approximately five month, a new study shows.

Researchers at Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health say that average life expectancy in 51 American cities has risen in the past couple of decades, in part due to cleaner air.

The scientists acknowledged that there are a number of factors that influence how long people live, but said the results show the country is "getting a substantial return on investments in improving our air quality."

"Such a significant increase in life expectancy attributable to reducing air pollution is remarkable," lead author Dr C. Arden Pope III commented.

As part of the study, the team compared two sets of data from the cities, which took into account changes in air pollution in 1980 and 2000, as well as life expectancy.

They also used statistical modeling to account for factors such as population change, income, demographics and smoking.

Long-term exposure to air pollution is thought to affect blood pressure, heart attack risk and the chances of dying from cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

Obama signs order to shut down Guantanamo

Guantanamo will be closed within a yearPresident Barack Obama signed three executive orders on Thursday relating to the war on terror, showing a definitive break from the policies of the past administration.

One order requires the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to be shut down within a year, which Obama said would "restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great."

A second order states that terror interrogations must follow rules set out by the Army field manual, which ban physical abuse, coercion and waterboarding. However, the Associated Press reports the administration is considering adding some more aggressive tactics to the manual in the future.

Commenting on the decision to put an end to the use of harsher interrogation methods, Obama said that observing "core standards of conduct" during challenging times is an idea that dates back to the founding fathers.

Another order creates a task force for reviewing detention policies and procedures and reviewing individual cases. This will help determine where future detainees will be held.

The decision to close Guantanamo immediately generated controversy among some Washington lawmakers. Michigan representative Peter Hoekstra, a Republican, suggested the move could be "unnecessarily risking the safety of our nation," CNN reports.

Chopra: Obama should focus on alternative medicine

Herbal supplements may help AmericansIn the run-up to the election, President Obama promised to place healthcare reform near the top of his agenda.

In an editorial published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Deepak Chopra argues that by bringing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into the mainstream, the country could boost its citizens’ long-term wellness and effect considerable cost savings.

Currently, conventional medicine fails to provide sufficient preventive care, Chopra says. He also claims that the majority of doctors are too reliant on the influence of pharmaceutical companies when it comes to choosing a treatment path.

"The era of patient-centered, humane care has long passed," he writes. "Yet, in the face of burgeoning alternatives, official medicine shrugs its shoulders and shuts its doors."

He points to examples in which science has failed to uncover a satisfactory answer as to why some people get sick and others don’t.

Chopra proposes that the Obama administration should begin listening to those who promote and practice CAM, as it can offers answers to many of the nation’s chronic health problems.

Tom Daschle, Obama’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, has in the past supported more exploration into the benefits of CAM.


The case against forcing banks to lend

Is easier credit a good thing?In the current economic climate, it is common to hear people speak about the need for banks to relax their lending standards and start approving loans again.

But is this really a good idea? Writing for CNN Money, Paul R. LaMonica argues that if financial institutions lend for the sake of it, the country will have a more difficult time pulling itself out of the crisis.

Instead, banks should use the funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to shore up their balance sheets and protect themselves against the fresh wave of credit defaults that are around the corner, he says.

Considering that irresponsible lending was a cause of the current recession, it would be a mistake to re-start a system of lending to people who cannot afford to pay the money back, according to LaMonica.

Daniel Alpert of investment bank Westwood Capital, called for a rethinking of "so-called stimulus."

"I don’t think massive consumer spending is the way out. The country needs a pickup in savings and investments in the future," he told the news provider.

Experts: Housing problems likely to get worse

Fewer houses are being builtFrom homebuilders’ perspective, 2009 is likely to be a washout year, a panel of housing experts has predicted.

The National Association of Home Builders said at a news conference that this year is expected to be worse than 2008 and a period where the market really hits "the bottom," the Associated Press reports.

A number of factors contribute to this outlook, including rising foreclosures and late payments on mortgages, as well falling house prices and housing starts.

Meanwhile, employment figures may have the most significant impact on whether or not the housing market will recover any time soon.

Frank Nothaft of Freddie Mac forecast that unemployment could reach 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, up from its current level of 7.2 percent.

"The single most important trigger event leading to [mortgage] delinquency is unemployment," he told the news provider.

One factor that may be holding potential homebuyers back from the market is that many mortgage lenders are employing strict criteria to determine who can obtain a loan.

And some existing homeowners have been stung by falling prices, meaning they currently owe more money on their mortgage than their property is worth.

Cholesterol Drugs Can Deplete CoQ10 and Increase Heart Failure Risk

Some 36 million Americans are now on cholesterol (statin) drugs.  Everybody is in on the act—the government, the pharmaceuticals and the medical establishment.  The public is overwhelmed. Everybody is sold!

My opinion: The cholesterol mania is commerce pure and simple—high cholesterol is a diet problem, not a drug problem.

Statin drugs work by blocking cellular production of cholesterol in the mevalonate pathway (the liver) but statin drugs also block Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) production, a vital heart and brain nutrient, in the same pathway.

The good news is that consumption of 100 to 200 mgs per day of CoQ10 will reverse CoQ10 depletion induced by statins. At least one cholesterol drug manufacturing company has admitted to this widespread problem with statin drugs.

There is particular CoQ10 depletion in seniors when statins are taken at higher doses. Doctors are getting more aggressive at prescribing higher and higher dosages of statin drugs with corresponding higher and higher depletion of CoQ10, increasing the likelihood of impairment in heart-muscle function.

If you take a cholesterol-lowering drug, you should take extra CoQ10. It won’t affect the action of the cholesterol drug, but will greatly improve heart function.

CoQ10 is a nutrient, but in practice it is nearly impossible to obtain therapeutic quantities of CoQ10 from the diet—most especially if one is on statin drugs. CoQ10 supplementation will guarantee adequate levels.

In cardiovascular health, CoQ10 is valued by many alternative physicians for helping angina, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Symptoms such as fluid retention, shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, subjective arrhythmia, purple skin color and nighttime urination were checked for improvement. Overall there was significant improved quality of life.

A six-year study at the University of Texas found that sufferers of congestive heart failure who took CoQ10 in addition to their conventional therapy had a 75 percent chance of survival after three years, compared to 25 percent survival rate for those using conventional therapy alone.

  • CoQ10 may normalize heart function in mitral valve prolapse patients.
  • CoQ10 may help prevent stroke as well as prevent death in people who have had stroke.
  • CoQ10 improves blood circulation.
  • CoQ10 helps prevent blood clots.
  • CoQ10 is a specific for heart function. More is needed for the aging process.
  • CoQ10 may improve the heart’s ability to survive and produce energy in hypoxia (limited oxygen) situations such as: High altitudes, clogged arteries, blood clots, angina and high fat content blood.

Analysts cite dangers of government intervention

Government intervention in the market may not be a good ideaAs the damaging effects of the financial crisis continue to spread, there has been a tendency for people to turn to the government for solutions.

However, many analysts argue that government intervention in the free market may not be successful, Reuters reports.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2009 Global Risks report, one of the problems at the heart of addressing these concerns is that the financial crisis is global, with the actions of a single government able to affect – and be affected by – countries around the world.

"That intervention will be both reactive and uncoordinated by a series of local, regional and national political actors," commented Ian Bremmer of Eurasia Group in his 2009 outlook.

The world is moving toward a situation in which politics and the free market are necessarily intertwined, he said.

According to the WEF report, this could end up disrupting the natural system of incentives that encourage growth.

"Intervention in support of the financial and manufacturing sectors carries the risk of rewarding failure or propping up inefficient corporations and industries," it states, according to Reuters.

Companies who do not receive government funds may also find themselves at a disadvantage, it explains.