Stimulus package provisions for retirees

Stimulus package contains provisions that retirees can benefit from In the current economic conditions almost everyone could use an economic stimulus, and analysts have identified provisions that can benefit America’s retirees.

They include a one-time $250 tax-free payment, regardless of income, to Social Security recipients or an equivalent tax credit for those who do not receive benefits such as retired government workers.

Retirees (and others) may also be able to deduct sales or excise taxes on the first $49,500 of the sales price of most motor vehicles purchase before the end of the current year.

The analysis conducted by CNNMoney.com also points out some novel provisions that reward energy conservation. Consumers may obtain tax credits for a range of eco-friendly home improvements such as solar-energy heating systems, geothermal heat pumps and wind energy systems.

Moreover, retirees who want to take courses at local colleges may be eligible for education credits, and high-income seniors in particular could benefit from a provision that shields more taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax (AMT).

Such benefits are especially timely given that a slew of recent reports has painted a pessimistic picture of the state of American retirement funds.

According to a recent survey by Pensions & Investment, the 1,000 largest plans lost almost $1 trillion in the year ended September 2008, their worst decline in 30 years.
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Study finds calcium may prevent cancer in women

Study finds calcium may prevent cancer in women In addition to supporting healthy bones, especially in menopausal women, a calcium-rich diet may also lower their risk of developing many types of cancer.

Scientist from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, analyzed data from 198,903 women focusing in particular on their dairy and calcium supplement consumption. They concluded that women decreased their risk of cancer with a daily intake of up to 1,300 milligrams of calcium.

Moreover, the researchers found that both men and women whose diet is rich in calcium have lower risks of cancers of the digestive system, especially colorectal tumors.

The authors explain this by pointing out that calcium, along with vitamin D and conjugated linoleic acid, all found in dairy products or available in the form of dietary supplements, are potentially anticarcinogenic.

Specifically, it has been demonstrated that calcium induces normal turnover among cells in the gastrointestinal tract and breast and reduces abnormal growth. It also binds to bile and fatty acids, potentially shielding the mucous membrane of the large intestine from damage.

The research results were published in the February 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
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Study describes role of omega-3 acids in obesity management

New study has detailed the role of omega-3 acids in obesity management While their overall beneficial effects on human health have been well documented, omega-3 fatty acids’ role in obesity treatment and management are only now being properly explored.

Obesity is frequently accompanied by liver problems and scientists now believe that the compounds play a significant role in protecting this vital organ from damage.

Consequently, doctors and dieticians are even more likely to recommend switching to omega-3-rich foods such as fish, flaxseed oil or meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals to people with a particular risk of dangerous liver complications and those who struggle to lose weight.

"Doctors are always looking for simple and easy ways to counter the harmful effects of obesity," says Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, adding that "the great thing about this study is that the information can be used at dinner tonight."

The journal published the study results in its online issue on February 23.

According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. and is responsible for devastating and costly health problems including cancer, heart and liver diseases as well as muscoskeletal complications.
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Long-Term Effects of Immunizations

A vaccination is a method by which diluted disease agents are introduced into the system by avoiding the natural defense mechanisms of the body. They are in a sense, parachuted behind enemy lines. Without any means to expel these agents (pathogens), they (the viruses) are eventually incorporated into the cells of the body.

This creates a profound confusion throughout the entire organism as to what is actually the organism (self) which is to be protected, and what is foreign (nonself), which is to be expelled. At some point the immune system will begin to attack cells within the body to rid the organism of the foreign substance. This results in chronic auto-immune disease.

It is no mystery how much autoimmune disease there is in America today.

The "people" who perpetrate the "immunization" crimes are well versed in psychological warfare. Mass crimes are created under the altruistic phrase "for the greater good." You who read my articles are able to translate "for the greater good" to always mean a transfer of more power to the corporate state.

They know that there are several years between the "immunization" shots and the appearance of autoimmune diseases. This is the perfect crime based on confusion of cause and effect.

Nazi Germany started mass compulsory immunization in 1940. The number of cases of diphtheria increased from 40,000 to 250,000 by 1945, virtually all among immunized children.

Bottom line for you: Mass inoculation and immunization is nothing more nor less than commerce via an alliance between big government and big pharmaceuticals. Further, this is an assault upon the people under a medical pretense.

Reference: "DPT; A Shot in the Dark" by Harris Coulter.

The literature states that homeopathic physicians can antidote vaccinations. See "The Case Against Immunizations" by Richard Moskowitz M.D.

Major multinationals among finalists of green company contest

British Airways, Coca Cola, Ikea, Verizon, Wal-mart and Whole Foods among the finalists for Green Choice Awards A popular healthy lifestyle magazine is set to honor the top green companies of 2008 in its May 2009 issue.

The Natural Health Green Choice Awards will celebrate multinational companies which have implemented significant green initiatives and have served as an inspiration to their peers.

The contest asked candidates to submit information about their company’s alternative energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, recycling, carbon footprint and LEED certifications. The 25 finalists include companies such as British Airways, Coca Cola, Ikea, Verizon, Wal-mart and Whole Foods.

The awards will be presented to ten winners by actor and environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr., during a cocktail reception at Tavern on the Green in New York City on May 5, 2009.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief Mary Bolster expressed her excitement with Begley’s participation by saying that "[he] has been the embodiment of green living and green ideas for the past 38 years and as the owner of Begley’s Best, a line of non-toxic household cleaners, [and therefore] he’s the perfect person to help us choose the best green companies of 2008."

Natural Health was founded in 1971 and covers a wide range of topics including fitness, health, wellness, beauty, travel, style and home.
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Ideas for managing wealth in a tough economy

Council says diversification is still the best investment strategyDuring the current recession everyone can benefit from a piece of sound economic advice, and one industry group is offering its own insights into managing wealth during turbulent times.

Dow Jones Wealth Management Advisory Council said that the optimal portfolio mix in the current conditions focuses on opportunities in liabilities instead of assets and makes allocations for the long term. As always, keeping the portfolios diversified is the best strategy.

"Our clients are making sure that their long-term risk tolerance is in line with their asset allocation," said Patricia Bell, senior vice president of investments for Merrill Lynch. "Where there is a disconnect there needs to be discussions."

Council members are also advising their clients to reduce exposure to risky investments and to focus on simple financial instruments. According to Mike Sawyer, managing director of investments at Citi Smith Barney, now is a good time to invest in fixed income, high-dividend blue chip stocks, well-managed funds and appropriate deposit vehicles.

The council is a group of top wealth managers dedicated to promoting the practice of wealth management, facilitating industry discussion and representing the needs and concerns of the profession.
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FDA lax on medical device safety, report says

Report claims that FDA has poor oversight of quality standards at laboratories which develop medical devicesA non-profit organization has released a report which details the FDA’s alleged lack of oversight of quality standards at laboratories which develop medical devices.

The FDA’s Deadly Gamble with the Safety of Medical Devices report was released by the Project on Government Oversight on February 18, and singles out the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), a part of FDA, as the main culprit.

In particular, the report alleges that senior CDRH officials have not been enforcing the Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulation from 1979 that prohibits manufacturers from setting their own standards of laboratory testing. As a result, manufacturers are free to monitor their own compliance with the regulation.

"There are many insiders who are deeply concerned that real harm is being done," says Danielle Brian, executive director of POGO, adding "Such a decision affecting public health should not have been made behind closed doors."

In conclusion, the organization recommends that Congress or the Department of Health and Human Services investigate the FDA officials’ decision to ignore the GLP regulation and audit records that contain evidence of manufactures’ compliance with the regulation.
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Consumer watchdog tackles autism coverage denials

Consumer Watchdog has called on the Californian HMO regulator to disclose information related to insurance companies' denial of autism treatment coverageConsumer Watchdog has called on the Californian HMO regulator to make public its communications with insurance companies relating to cases of coverage denials for autism treatment.

Citing the Public Records Act, the organization wants the California Department of Managed Health Care to disclose the information. It claims that many insurers refuse to pay for autism treatment, known as applied behavioral analysis, even though such coverage is required by law.

"Children who need treatment for autism can’t afford to wait while insurance companies refuse coverage," says Jerry Flanagan of Consumer Watchdog, adding that it is the regulators’ responsibility to help families get the care they need, rather than "helping the insurance companies think up new excuses for denying coverage."

Flanagan also stated, "Access to information concerning the public’s business is an essential check against the exercise of official government power to benefit political supporters."

Consumer Watchdog is concerned that the officials have been influenced by insurance companies seeking to avoid paying for autism treatment.

According to the group, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed the current director of the Department of Managed Health Care, has received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from health insurance companies and HMOs.
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Supplements may reduce risk of vision loss

Scientists believe that vitamins B, 12 and folic acid may reduce the risk of age-related vision lossScientists believe that vitamin B and folic acid may be helpful in mitigating the risk of vision loss in older people.

A report published in the February 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, says that a diet supplemented by a combination of vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid appeared to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women.

AMD is believed to be related to high blood levels of amino acid called homocysteine which causes dysfunction of the blood vessel lining. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid appear to reduce homocysteine levels and may reverse this process.

"The trial findings … are the strongest evidence to date in support of a possible beneficial effect of folic acid and B vitamin supplements in AMD prevention," the authors write.

The add, "From a public health perspective, this is particularly important because persons with early AMD are at increased risk of developing advanced AMD, the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss."

According to the National Institutes of Health, AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.
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Google’s new application raises privacy concerns

Latitude, Google's new tracking application raises privacy concernsInternet giant Google launched a highly anticipated application earlier this month, but privacy advocates have expressed concerns.

Google Latitude is a location-sharing service that allows people to track other user’s movements. The company promotes it as a product that enables customers to check their friends’ locations and status messages and share their own.

However, according to Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, an organization focused on privacy intrusions by government and businesses, it is "a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends."

The organization claims that although Google has made efforts to protect privacy, the application lacks sufficient safeguards to protect users from the tracking technology.

In response to the concerns, Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering for Google’s mobile team, said that "we recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we’ve built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application," as quoted by informationweek.com.

He added, "Everything about Latitude is opt-in. You not only control exactly who gets to see your location, but you also decide the location that they see."

The feature uses GPS, mobile phone towers and wireless network to locate a person’s destination and allows their contacts to view where they are by using their mobile phone or computer through iGoogle.

It is available in 27 countries and will initially work on most color-screen Blackberry phones and most phones with Windows Mobile 5.0.
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Cholesterol Anxiety Created by Phony Lipid Hypothesis

Modern Americans can be persuaded to believe anything. It is not enough to lead a man toward the sale of a drug. He must also believe that a drug and the doctor who prescribed it will help him. Illegal drugs are on the fringe but legal drugs have subdued the whole population without one in a million suspecting it. The drug business is a commercial enterprise that has nothing to do with benefiting public health.

The following is “Statin Woes”:

"Go to www.askapatient.com and click on ratings and then Lipitor®, where you will find almost 700 comments on the cholesterol-lowering drug. What is interesting is the very high number of patients reporting side effects, including severe fatigue, joint pain, digestive problems, craving for fatty foods, difficulty breathing, thinning hair, depression, lack of concentration, memory lapses, thoughts of suicide, nightmares, peripheral neuropathy, paralysis, dizziness, painful charley horses, weight gain, blurred vision, headaches, insomnia, difficulty walking, rashes, blisters, slurred speech, eczema and ‘itching all over.’ Yet most of the ratings are positive, with patients expressing satisfaction at bringing their cholesterol levels down, and persevering in spite of the debilitating side effects. Such is the level of cholesterol anxiety engendered by the phony lipid hypothesis. Perhaps ‘complete decline in the power of reason’ should be added to the list of side effects from cholesterol-lowering drugs." (Quoted from Wise Traditions, Fall 2006 Volume 7 Number 3)

Cod liver oil is all-natural and cheaper than Lipitor®, and can even boost your memory.

Doctors are warming up to alternative therapies

Doctors increasingly prescribe alternative therapies as supplement to conventional medicineAs part of a trend that even very recently would have been unthinkable, increasingly many doctors are suggesting complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to their patients.

Although traditionally skeptical of CAM, doctors are now more willing to prescribe meditation, massage and acupuncture for the relief of a range of health problems, according to the Chicago Tribune.

In fact, practitioners such as Dr Ali Keshavarzian increasingly straddle both worlds as they realize that conventional medicine does not always have all the answers.

"CAM is looking at a patient as a human being, rather than a disease," said Keshavarzian, a gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical Center, as quoted by the newspaper. Although still a believer in "Western" medicine, he suggests relaxation techniques when he suspects that stress may be a factor or acupuncture for pain.

In an interesting development, medical schools have started teaching integrative practices. The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, a group that includes Duke University, Harvard and Northwestern, has grown from eight to 43 members since 1999.

This trend reflects the fact that alternative medicine is increasingly popular among ordinary Americans.

According to a joint survey by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, 40 percent of adults and 10 percent of children sought alternative medicine help for a range of health problems – such as chronic back pain – in 2007.

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New analysis estimates losses to retirement accounts

New study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute has measured the impact of the financial meltdown on 401(k) accountsA study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute has measured the impact of the financial crisis on 401(k) accounts.

A nonpartisan group, EBRI has published the analysis of 401(k) retirement account balances from January 1, 2008 to January 20, 2009. Its report concludes that account holders’ losses were determined by their account balance, age and job tenure.

Employees whose account balances were less than $10,000 experienced an average growth of 40 percent in 2008, since their contributions had a bigger impact than investment losses. However, those who had more than $200,000 lost 25 percent on average.

The study also found nearly 1 in 4 workers aged 56-65 had more than 90 percent of their account balances in equities at the end of 2007, and more than 2 in 5 had over 70 percent.

After the Pension Protection Act of 2006 was introduced many employers started to offer lifecycle/target-date funds, which automatically rebalance asset investments as the beneficiary grows older. The report concludes that if more employees nearing retirement age had been enrolled in target-date funds at the end of 2007 they would have significantly mitigated their losses.

The analysis used the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database of more than 21 million participants to estimate the impact of the stock market on 401(k) account balances.

EBRI is a nonprofit research institute based in Washington, DC, that focuses on health, savings, retirement and economic security issues.

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Scientist: Pharma ties may bias research

Scientist analyzes the impact of pharma ties on the intellectual freedom of research centersPharmaceutical companies sponsor an increasing number of research studies, and one scientist has set out to analyze the impact of this trend on the intellectual freedom of research centers.

Writing in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Dr. Giovanni A. Fava claims that this freedom may be seriously jeopardized by the fact that the drug industry controls many scientific societies, journals and clinical practice guidelines.

Editors, reviewers and consultants to medical journals, scientific conferences and research organizations frequently have ties to special interest groups. As a result, Fava draws attention to problems such as internal censorship, biased interpretation of clinical trials or information selection.

"Members of special interest groups … move from one meeting to another to illustrate the wonderful properties of the drugs to be launched … have their slides prepared and checked by the companies… sign ghostwritten papers and are promptly substituted if they do not have impact on prescriptions, " writes Fava.

He adds that they are also frequently "gatekeepers of corporate interest in scientific information" by serving as journal editors or reviewers with the task of preventing the dissemination of data that may be in conflict with the interests of the group they represent.

In conclusion, Fava stresses the value of independent investigators without ties to the industry.

Fava works for the department of psychology at the University of Bologna, Italy, and the department of psychiatry, State University of New York at Buffalo.
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Leaders call for presidential commission on detainees

Leaders across the social spectrum have called on President Obama to create a commission to investigate the treatment of detainees after the 9/11 attacksPolitical and community leaders have called on President Obama to create a commission to investigate the detention, treatment and transfer of detainees during George W. Bush’s administration.

The advocates of the proposal include Thomas Pickering, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, Judge William Sessions, former director of the FBI and Rev. Dr. John H. Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ.

"We urge President Obama to appoint a non-partisan commission of distinguished Americans to examine, and provide a comprehensive report on, policies and actions related to the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees after 9/11 and the consequences of those actions, and to make recommendations for future policy in this area," they said in a statement.

Judge William Session commented that there are still many unanswered questions regarding whether the treatment of detainees following the 9/11 terrorist attacks were "in the country’s best interest."

President Obama signed an executive order in January to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and to ban harsh interrogation techniques.

Since then, a coalition of human rights groups has written to the president to request access to Guantanamo to review the conditions of confinement and make recommendations for revising U.S. policies.

And the American Civil Liberties Union petitioned the Justice Department to release the memos that provided the legal basis for the former administration’s controversial national security policies.
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Beta-carotene supplements may reduce cognitive decline

Study has found beta-carotene supplements may delay the onset of cognitive decline in older menA study has found that men who take supplements containing beta-carotene may delay the onset of cognitive decline in the old age.

The research project, spearheaded by Dr Francine Grodstein of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, looked at two groups of men – long-term users (18 years, on average) and short (an average of one year) – who added 50 milligrams of beta-carotene to their diet every other day.

Grodstein found that the men in the short-term group showed no difference in cognition – including thinking, learning and memory skills – than those taking a placebo, while the men in the long-term group performed significantly better.

"[F]or every 10 to 12 units of beta-carotene, your body produces one unit of Vitamin A," says Dr Michael E. Rosenbaum, adding that Vitamin A plays a critical role in vision, bone growth, reproduction and immunity. In particular, as an antioxidant it helps to destroy free radicals that can damage cells, accelerate aging, and contribute to tumor development.

Foods rich in beta-carotene include crude palm oil, yellow and orange fruits, such as mangoes and papayas, orange root vegetables such as carrots and yams and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, sweet potato leaves, and sweet gourd leaves.
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Group unveils health insurance proposal

Commonwealth Fund has published a proposal in which it outlines its plans for expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costsA private U.S. health policy group has published a proposal in which it outlines its plans for expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costs.

The Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health said in its recently released report that it is possible to insure everyone, improve the quality of healthcare and trim expenses by some $3 trillion by 2020.

However, this will require deep and comprehensive reforms, such as the creation a national insurance exchange that would offer a choice of private plans and a new public plan.

Other proposals include insurance reforms that will provide affordable coverage for all; aligning incentives with value and effective cost control; accessible, patient-centered and coordinated care; and accountable leadership to achieve national goals.

"With our economy in crisis, health costs squeezing family budgets, and coverage deteriorating, we can’t afford to continue on our current path," says Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis. "The commission has laid out a pragmatic strategy that could rapidly move us in more positive directions."

She adds that reforming the healthcare is a matter of both "family and national security."

The commission also proposes cost rationalization measures, including payment and information system reforms, that would slow the rate of cost growth to 5.5 percent per year from the currently projected 6.7 percent over the coming decade.

The commission was formed in April 2005 to identify best policies and practices that would lead to improvements in the delivery and financing of healthcare.

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Stimulus to Stimulate Collapse of Currency

The Federal Government is proposing an $787 billion economic stimulus plan to energize the economy, but will pumping that money into the economy stimulate anything other than the speed at which currency collapses? The simple answer is no.

The only way for true economic growth is by the transfer of services, goods or wealth between people (or businesses) who actually produce something. In other words, if someone provides a service and gets gold or silver (actual wealth) or widgets for compensation, both the service provider and widget maker has benefited and each has something that has bettered his standard of living.

If the one who performed the service uses the widgets to acquire trinkets which help him to perform his service, then the service performer has benefited. The trinket maker has also benefited, and can put the widgets to use. This sort of transfer has worked from the beginning of time, when the farmer took his produce to market where it was sold or bartered in exchange for wealth, tools, supplies and seeds so he could begin producing food for next year.

But the Fed produces nothing but more paper money, and it takes from the producers. Therefore, its only solution for the collapsing financial system is to steal wealth from the producers of goods and services through taxation and provide more and more fiat money and credit. This can only mean final and complete collapse of the U.S. dollar. Everyone should be aware of this and move as much as possible out of the dollar.

A second and primary concern of the Fed is their control of public perceptions. They must keep the crowd quiet. They positively do not want a panic and run on the banks. The very last thing central banks want is transparency. The vested interest (the paper money crowd) will color the news more and more.

Historically, the propensity of governments is to debase the currency. Americans now know what a sector collapse looks like. This chaos will continue for some time as businesses continue to cut back on inventories, production and numbers of employees or die altogether.

This should cause alert people to see the urgent need to move quickly to protect what they have.

Yes, I can easily believe that the crowd is still asleep but you readers are not.

Up-to-date Emergency Recommendations:

  • Have some cash at home.
  • Have some 1 oz. gold coins at home.
  • Take delivery of long-term holding stock certificates if you have them. They are not tied to any broker. Your dividends will come straight to you.
  • Have some silver coins at home.
  • All major companies like GE and GM and the big banks are major derivative dealers. In these times small banks and small brokers may be safer.
  • Avoid internet financial services, i.e. brokers and banks and be careful how you use the internet. The government is snooping and thieves are watching. Better to use fax or mail. This may not be private either, but better. Use the phone for travel plans.
  • Consider a Swiss annuity denominated in Swiss francs. Call 1-800-331-0996 and give your name and address for more information.
  • Buy oil, energy, uranium, and commodity related assets/stocks, including gold and silver stocks.
  • Store gold coins in the Perth Mint if you have the funds. Get details on the web at www.perthmint.com.
  • As always have basic food and water stored at home.