No new F-22 jets next year

In a 58-40 vote the Senate approved an amendment that proposed to stop production on the newest F-22 fighter jet models.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates deemed the planes to be unnecessary and wanted the next line to be stricken from the 2010 defense budget.

President Obama supported Gate’s stance and declared the spending would have been "an inexcusable waste of money" for it meant less funding for troops.

Those who opposed this decision included Georgia republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and Connecticut’s Democratic Senator, Christopher Dodd, as well as labor unions such as the International Association of Machinists.

Ending production on the F-22, such opponents argued, would hurt, not help the economy and lead to job losses across the country. According to Bloomberg, 70,000 jobs are indirectly supported across 40 states by the F-22’s manufacturing.

There are currently 183 fighter jets in use, with plans to manufacture only 4 more. Instead, the Armed Forces aim to develop approximately 500 of the F-35 planes, CNN reports.

Ultimately, ending production on these fighter jets will cut the defense budget by $1.75 billion.
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Citizens protest Chicago Islamic Conference

A group of concerned Americans exercised their First Amendment Rights yesterday in Chicago, Illinois to protest an Islamic conference in the Oak Lawn region of the city.

Media sources report that the meeting was organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir, who some consider to be an extremist Islamic organization that reportedly promotes anti-Western sentiment.

Furthermore, the Islamic institution is also apparently linked with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to participating in the 9/11 plot, FOX News reveals.

The group wants to bring Muslim nations together around the world under just one single leader and reportedly has no connections to terrorism.
Mohammad Malkawi spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times on behalf of the group and claimed that "We have never aligned ourselves with militant groups. The accusations are baseless and without merit," but the 75 protestors who gathered seemed to think otherwise.

According to United Press International one protestor who expressed she was a "suburban SUV-driving sports mom" told the news provider that the Islamic group "will hurt us" and that they "are not hiding their intentions."

The conference brought around 800 attendees to the area.
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Latest Obama ratings poll shows decrease in healthcare approval

A recent poll conducted via telephone by the Washington Post and ABC news found that fewer Americans are lending their support to President Obama’s healthcare reform plans.

According to the figures, only 49 percent of respondents feel confident about the administration’s plans for healthcare whereas in June, 53 percent expressed their approval.

Similarly, Americans’ confidence in Obama’s handling of the economy has also slid slightly as 52 percent currently endorse his decisions compared to 58 percent last month.

Furthermore, one quarter of survey participants feel that the administration is placing too much of a priority on healthcare, while 39 percent expressed they believe there is too little of an emphasis on fixing the federal budget deficit.

As a result, 55 percent of respondents think that it is most important that the government work to avoid a greater deficit rather than increase overall consumer spending.

Of those surveyed, 33 percent identified themselves as Democrat, 22 percent were Republican, 41 percent were registered Independent and only 4 percent had no affiliation.

Despite slipping public support, the government aims to push healthcare reforms and the issue is of extreme importance.

Last week, Obama explained he was "urging the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, to seize this opportunity, and vote for reform."
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Spice may benefit women who took HRT

New research shows that curcumin found in the Indian spice turmeric may help reduce some women’s risk of breast cancer if they utilized hormone replacement therapy (HRT.)

Many women choose HRT to offset the physical and emotional affects of menopause despite the fact that this treatment carries side effects including an increased risk of breast cancer.

Scientists at the University of Missouri found that in animals curcumin reduced the occurrence and likelihood that progestin -accelerated tumors would develop. Curcumin prevented VEGF from developing and this molecule helps direct blood to a growing tumor.

Researcher Salman Hyder of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center explained that the findings may promote the consumption of turmeric or even just curcumin as a cancer preventative.

"The results of our study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumors," he said.

With more research, he says, curcumin may even be recommended to women who took HRT for a long period of time.

Studies conducted at the German Cancer Research Center last year revealed that women who took HRT for five or more years had a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19273174-ADNFCR

Middle East Mayhem Could Push Oil Over $150 per Barrel

The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

I’ve been thinking about what Rousseau said because I have passed an anniversary of sorts. Thirty-years ago this past spring I was trying desperately to keep my grades up as a junior at the University of Calgary.

One afternoon the sun was beating into our classroom. It was a petroleum-economics class taught by a Frenchman, Dr. Mitra. But that day was unusual because the professor was agitated. This was most strange. The only agitation I had ever seen in that class came from the students who regularly received Cs and Ds from the white smocked, pipe carrying Dr. Mitra.

As the bell rang, Mitra exclaimed: “This thing in Iran… this Khomeini; it changes everything!”

I don’t remember what I thought of this. I was young and selfish, so I probably wondered if it would affect the final I was already cramming for. It turned out that Dr. Mitra was talking about a lot more than a final exam for one of his classes.

It was the late 1970s, the stock market was in crisis, there was a young inexperienced Democrat sitting in the Oval Office and, oh yes, a pop star that some called “The King”, had died prematurely—of a drug overdose in his home, they said.

Sound familiar?

Back to the Future
Years later I think Dr. Mitra was saying the revolution in Iran would permanently change the markets. That nothing in international oil would be as it was before; that the removal of the Shah and a new clerical regime with its Supreme Leader would transform the Middle East.

He was right.

In 1979 the Iranian Revolution sent oil prices soaring. The country’s oil production plummeted drastically to 2.5 million barrels a day. The 1980 Iraqi invasion worsened the situation. In fact, combined production of both countries fell to just 1 million barrels per day compared to 6.5 million barrels in 1978! This lowered the global production by 10 percent, and oil prices rocketed to $36 per barrel.

Today Iran is on the brink of another revolt. America is getting ready to pull out of Iraq, a move that could throw that country into chaos. With violence escalating in both nations—countries that produce 12 million barrels of oil per day, an amount almost equal to what America imports—the ordinances are set for another price explosion.

In fact, there is a growing potential for a new terror to boil-over in the Middle East… a nuclear kind of terror.

Just how close Iran is to having operational nuclear weapons is unclear. But one thing is certain; Israel is taking the threat seriously. Last month former Israeli defence minister Shaul Mofaz told Israeli radio that Iran is a ballistic power close to becoming a nuclear power.

“Iran has undoubtedly passed beyond the point of no return, moving closer to the ultimate nuclear capacity everyday," said Mofaz.

We are talking nuclear missiles in a region that holds two-thirds of the world’s conventional petroleum reserves. It’s enough to give American strategic planners nightmares. It also sets up the biggest potential for oil and gas profits ever. A scenario that I believe will push crude oil past $150 per barrel and natural gas above $8 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Then, on July 10th, Israel issued a direct warning to Iran. It spelled out the catastrophic consequences if it attacks the Jewish state with weapons of mass destruction.

In an interview published last Friday in the Hebrew daily Ha’aretz, Israel’s national security advisor Uzi Arad said Israel must have "tremendously powerful" weapons to deter or retaliate for a nuclear strike.

In other words, touch us and we will wipe you off the map.

To read more of Israel’s sword-first diplomacy, go to: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-07-10-voa10.cfm.

In 2009 Iran’s Crisis is an Even Bigger Threat

My office sits 20 minutes from Calgary’s core and I try to get downtown as often as I can. Last week I was at the Canadian Unconventional Oil Forum held at one of the city’s fancier hotels. It’s not so much what you hear from the speakers as what you hear at the bar—coffee, juice or otherwise.

I ran into an old university buddy during a break. He heads up a mid-sized oil and gas company that has more than 100 million barrels of proven reserves.

“If there’s trouble with Iran, it’s going to be a real mess,” he said. “Look at Bush and that Iraqi thing. That was about oil. And if this thing in Iran gets out of hand, the U.S. will be in there too. They’ve got no choice.”

I asked him if I could quote him.

“Sure,” he said as he walked back towards the lecture theatre, “just don’t use my name.”

Annual U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil

The fact is America’s fortunes are tied to Iran and the Middle East. Consider this:

  • The United States accounts for less than 4 percent of the world’s oil production but consumes more than 30 percent of world oil supplies.
  • The average oil well in the continental United States pumps less than 300 barrels per day. The average well in Iran produces 10,000 barrels per day.
  • The last elephant oil field (more than a billion barrels) discovered in the United States was in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 1968.

In fact, 2009 marks a milestone for the United States. For the first time since World War II, we pumped less than 5 million barrels of oil per day. We pumped almost twice as much oil 30 years ago during the first Iranian crisis.

As Thomas Wolfe said, we can’t go home again

Meanwhile, Iran remains an oil kingpin. It is the de facto leader of OPEC, has the second largest conventional oil reserves in the world and is the world’s fourth largest producer of crude.

Yet in the end maybe Rousseau was wrong, at least in this instance. Things haven’t so much stayed the same, they have gotten worse. And that is bad news for America which lately has only shown talent for one thing—pumping money.

It is however good news for petroleum investors. The first Iranian revolution doubled the price of crude oil. Today, with America so much more dependent on the Middle East and with the stakes so high, the upcoming price spike could be huge, perhaps putting oil above $150 per barrel. Any way you look at it, that’s an A+ for energy investors.

Yours for real wealth,

—John Myers

They Stole That Election Fair And Square

One of the dirtiest campaigns ever conducted for the U.S. Senate is finally over. And to the dismay of anyone who cares about decency and decorum in “the world’s most exclusive club,” the chief mud-thrower has been declared the victor.

Shame on the 1.4 million celebrity-stricken Minnesotans who voted for a mean-spirited, hate-filled, dishonest demagogue named Al Franken. Shame on the courts and an incredibly biased Secretary of State who tortured and twisted a so-called “recount” until they made sure Franken had enough votes to win. And shame on the Republicans in Minnesota for allowing the election to be stolen from them.

When this campaign began, Norm Coleman, the Republican incumbent, was expected to win handily. No one gave Al Franken much of a chance. After all, this is the former Saturday Night Live performer whose major contributions to our culture have been sketches like “Planet of the Enormous Hooters” and books such as Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Liar. (Same to you, buddy.)

But that was before the economy imploded and the Obama bandwagon began to soar. Franken was incredibly well-funded by the left, so he was able to afford a ton of TV and print commercials. The result was some of the most blatantly dishonest advertisements his advisers could devise. Franken flat-out lied about Coleman’s voting record. He even accused his opponent of being “the fourth most corrupt senator in Congress.”

The leftwing activist group ACORN was busy, registering every warm body they could find. They were aided by Minnesota’s absurd same-day registration law. In Minnesota, election officials trust but don’t verify. How many illegal immigrants, felons, non-residents and other ineligibles did ACORN manage to get to the polls? We’ll never know. But you can bet it was a whole lot more than Al Franken’s razor-thin margin of victory.

When the original vote tally was announced it appeared that Coleman had won by 725 votes. The results were so close that a recount was inevitable. And that’s when the Franken forces really went to work to rig the results.

They brought in the same team that had found enough votes in the 2004 race for governor in Washington State to hand the election to Christine Gregorie. They were aided in Minnesota by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat Party official and ACORN activist who got away with approving recount totals that favored Franken—but accepted the original tally in other cases, all of which just happened also to favor Franken.

By the time the recount ended Franken had gained 436 votes from “corrections” in just three heavily Democrat precincts. That, combined with votes that were removed from the Coleman side in other precincts, was enough to tip the election in Franken’s favor. Coleman appealed the results to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ruled on June 30 that Franken had won the election by 312 votes. A few days later the gloating and gleeful ex-comedian took his seat as the 60th Democrat in the U.S. Senate. That brings the party of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to a filibuster-proof majority. Not a pretty thought, is it?

But before you tear out your hair and fall to the floor sobbing, “That’s it. It’s all over. Nothing can save our poor Republic now,” hold on a moment. I do see a few rays of sunshine in this otherwise bleak assessment.

First, I don’t believe that Al Franken will be an asset for the Democrats. Instead, I think he will turn out to be a huge liability. The man has absolutely no class. He’s a mean-spirited guttersnipe who will find it impossible to keep his big mouth shut, or to resist the temptation to spout extremist views that are way to the left of most Americans.

As Connie Hair observed in Human Events, “Unless the powers that be in the Senate can put a big, fat muzzle on his mouth, Al Franken’s brand of politics and caustic deportment would make him the poster child for everything that’s wrong in America in 2010. The Senate’s own Rosie O’Donnell.”

Right. And what are the chances that this egotistical grandstander will allow himself to be muzzled? Or even agree that, for the good of his party, he should sit down and shut up for a while? I put them pretty close to zero.

Barack Obama may be the smoothest fraud we’ve seen in many a year. But take it from me; Al Franken is the complete opposite. The junior senator from Minnesota may just prove to be the most attractive target conservatives have had in years. Sort of a real-life tar baby, where every accusation sticks.

So please, Al, get on that soap box every chance you get. I can’t wait to see how far down your throat you can shove your foot. In fact, I’ll even help push.

They Haven’t Stolen This One… Yet
While the bad guys were celebrating their victory in Minnesota, several thousand miles to the south the good guys (and gals) won at least a temporary victory in Honduras.

Unfortunately, rather than cheer the sensible (and completely legal) actions of responsible Hondurans, our President has chosen to side with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and demand that the so-called “coup” be reversed.

In case you didn’t follow the story, here’s a quick recap. The Honduran constitution forbids a president succeed himself. The then-president, Manuel Zelaya, inspired by Venezuela’s Marxist boss, Hugo Chavez, decided to change the rules. He asked the Honduran Congress to amend the constitution to permit him to run again. The Congress, which was fed up with all of his unconstitutional shenanigans, said “absolutely not.”

So Zelaya vowed to go “to the people.” He said he would hold an illegal referendum. When the courts wouldn’t sanction his scheme, his buddy Chavez had a bunch of ballots printed in Venezuela and smuggled into Honduras.

When the military got wind of this, they seized the ballots. That’s when Zelaya said he would lead a mob to the military base where they were stored and have them distributed.

With that, responsible Hondurans said “enough.” Well, actually, they said “basta” and a lot of more colorful words. The Honduran Supreme Court ordered the military to arrest Zelaya. The Honduran Congress voted to support the action. So two weeks ago, Honduran soldiers marched into the presidential palace, seized Zelaya, and put him on a plane to Costa Rica.

This very reasonable and even humane action (most would-be dictators kill their opponents) sent the left into absolute conniption fits. The United Nations voted unanimously to condemn the action. Here’s an important principle, folks. When a majority of the members of the United Nations favors something, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s bad for freedom.

As I write these words, Hondurans are refusing to buckle under to all the international pressure—even that coming from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Roberto Micheletti, the speaker of the Honduran congress, was named as caretaker president to serve out Zelaya’s term. Micheletti declared, “We have established a democratic government, and we will not cede to pressure from anyone. We are a sovereign country.”

When Zelaya tried to return to the country, Micheletti ordered the airport closed. Zelaya’s plane was not allowed to land. Time will tell if Micheletti and his brave and determined allies in Honduras will succeed.

A handful of Americans have come to their defense. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement saying, “The rule of law is working in Honduras. President Obama should not undermine the democratic institutions that guarantee freedom by forcing an illegitimate president back into power…. The United States should support the Honduran people and their legitimate leaders in their brave and heroic stand for freedom and the rule of law.” To which I offer a hearty “amen.”

If you haven’t already done so (and if by the time you read this Hondurans are still clinging to their freedom), please ask your senators and representatives to support them. It’s time we helped the good guys win one.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Energy savings help planet and wallets

Energy savings help planet and wallets Summer electricity bills can make a dent in one’s assets, especially in the current economic climate, and with that in mind a non-profit organization has published tips on ways to avoid the escalating costs.

The Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) says the easiest way to save is to turn off the lights, not only when no one is at home, but also in rooms that are not in use at any particular moment.

It also stresses the importance of switching off, or at least turning to an energy-saving mode, any electronic equipment, such as a radio, TV set or a computer that is not being used.

A great economizing step – but one few people keep in mind – has to do with unplugging electronic equipment during longer absences, such as summer vacations.

In fact, the ASE says that "even if all of the appliances … are turned off, chances are that they are still drawing a small amount of energy."

It warns that this small (usually around 1-5 watts) "phantom load" for each individual device can quickly add up.

Families may also consider installing energy-saving bulbs to improve efficiency for longer-time financial benefits.

A smart way of using air-conditioning can also make a big difference in the domestic budget. Unless there are pets in the house, there is no need to run the AC when there is nobody home, the organization says.

During the night, some families have also chosen to cool only the bedrooms, for added savings.
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Retirement funds decline in June

Retirement funds decline in June According to BNY Mellon Asset Management, the funded status of a typical U.S. corporate pension plan fell by 5.7 percentage points in June for the first time in four months.

The company says falling yields on long Aa corporate bonds which drove liabilities higher have contributed to this result.

Its analysis suggests assets for an average moderate risk portfolio increased 0.3 percent, while liabilities rose 7.6 percent during the month. For the first six months of the year, the funding ratio for the typical plan is up 5.2 percentage points, as represented by the BNY Mellon Pension Liability Index.

"Rising stock markets improved the funded status of pension plans in March, April and May, but the rally slowed in June and was unable to keep up with the rise in liabilities," says Peter Austin, executive director of BNY Mellon Pension Services, the pension services arm of BNY Mellon Asset Management.

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation is a financial services company operating in 34 countries. It has $20.2 trillion in assets under custody and administration, $928 billion in assets under management, services more than $11 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.8 trillion per day.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19267597-ADNFCR

Higher vitamin D supplementation protects seniors from fractures, article says

Higher vitamin D supplementation protects seniors from fractures, article says Swiss researchers believe that vitamin D supplementation of at least 400 international units per day (IUD) reduces risk of certain bone fractures in older people.

The conclusions, presented by scientists from the University of Zurich, are based on a meta-analysis of 12 previous clinical trials of oral vitamin D supplements in adults age 65 or older, and apply to non-vertebral fractures, including eight trials specifically studying hip fractures.

The overview has yielded insights which suggest that vitamin D supplements decreased the risk of non-vertebral fractures by 14 percent and of hip fractures by 9 percent. At higher doses – exceeding 400 IUD – this type of supplementation was found to reduce non-vertebral fractures by 20 percent and hip fractures by 18 percent.

The authors published their analysis in the Archives of Internal Medicine where they wrote that "[the results suggest] that higher doses of vitamin D should be explored in future research to optimize anti-fracture efficacy."

"Also, it is possible that greater benefits may be achieved with earlier initiation of vitamin D supplementation and longer duration of use," they added.

A significant decrease in fracture risk was also noted among participants whose blood serum levels of vitamin D achieved a greater increase.
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