Obama to Wall Street: ‘Do not block regulation’

Obama to Wall Street: 'Do not block regulation'In a speech delivered in New York on Monday, and coinciding with the first anniversary of the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, President Obama said regulation was urgently needed and he cautioned financial industry representatives not to try to block it.

Obama also struck a warning tone when he exhorted bankers from using the recovery to engage in "reckless behavior" that could lead to another financial meltdown, saying taxpayers were getting tired of bailouts.

"It is neither right nor responsible after you’ve recovered with the help of your government to shirk your obligation to the goal of wider recovery, a more stable system and a more broadly shared prosperity," Obama said, quoted by the Associated Press.

The president wants the financial sector reform bill ready by the end of the year, but industry groups as well as some Republicans have expressed worry about what regulation might bring.

"We must be wary of the reality that – in an attempt to address yesterday’s failures – Congress will put in place regulatory schemes which will fundamentally undermine risk taking," says Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and sent shockwaves through the financial system. It subsequently transpired that a number of financial organizations, including Citibank, Merrill Lynch and AIG, were on the brink of bankruptcy due to their exposure to the subprime mortgage market.

Ultimately, several rounds of multimillion dollar bailouts saved them from following in Lehman’s footsteps, but did not prevent the economy from falling into a deep recession.

Research sheds light on benefits of selenium

Research sheds light on benefits of selenium The molecular basis of the metabolism of selenium – a trace element that is key to human health – has been discovered and detailed in a new article.

The study described in a recent issue of the journal Science explains selenium is believed to offer protection from conditions such as mood swings, cardiovascular disease, viral infections and cancer.

Researchers from Yale University and University of Illinois at Chicago have shown how selenocysteine – the most bioactive metabolite of selenium – is created on a super-sized tRNA molecule. The other 20 amino acids and their associated tRNAs use the same protein vehicle for transport to the ribosome, but selenocystine appears to have its own large tRNA that does so.

Michael Bender of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences says the compound is a critical component of enzymes involved in a number of physiological and pathological processes.

"This study could ultimately have an impact on many aspects of human health, including the immune response, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and cancer," he stresses.

The study may prompt some people to complement their diet with selenium supplements.

Research uncovers rejuvenating properties of white tea

Research uncovers rejuvenating properties of white tea Tea lovers may be happy to learn that their favorite drink has just been found to be like a fountain of youth.

According to researchers, white tea may offer significant protection from an array of health and aging problems, from lowering the risk of cancer to preventing wrinkles.

In particular, a team of British scientists and natural health experts tested 21 plant and herb extracts for their medicinal properties and found that white tea consistently outperformed them all. They explain the effects are mainly due to high levels of antioxidants as well as compounds that block the enzymes which breakdown elastin and collagen in the skin which can lead to wrinkles.

Professor Declan Naughton, from the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University in the UK, says there are indicators white tea reduces the risk of inflammation which is a factor in aging as well as a characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers.

Those looking for ways to preserve a youthful appearance and maintain good health can find an array of remedies in natural health stores, including bladderwrack as well as supplements containing extracts of cleavers, rose, green tea, angelica, anise and pomegranate.

Survival plan should include finances, experts say

Survival plan should include finances, experts say According to the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation (AFSAEF), readying one’s finances for emergencies such as natural disasters is a critical yet often-overlooked part of the preparation process.

It says that next to stacking up on non-perishable food, water, batteries and charged mobile phones, care should be taken to put all important papers, including insurance policies, checking and savings account information and backups of computer files, in a safe location that is likely to withstand damage.

"Taking time to collect financial information before a disaster strikes can save precious time in the aftermath of one," says Susie Irvine, president and CEO of AFSAEF.

"The more information you have about your finances – including contact phone numbers – the more likely you will get help promptly," she adds.

AFSAEF further say that setting aside money in a checking or savings account for easy withdrawal in an emergency can also save valuable time.

In the aftermath of floods, hurricanes and other disasters, insurance and other type of financial fraud frequently proliferates, so care should be taken to research companies offering help before assistance is accepted.

AFSAEF is based in Washington, DC and provides tips on responsible money management. It is affiliated with the American Financial Services Association, the national trade association for the consumer credit industry.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts through November 1.

Despite massive deficit, earmarks increase in 2009

Despite massive deficit, earmarks increase in 2009 Media reports suggest excessive government spending has not ended with the bailouts of financial companies and the stimulus bill, as estimates suggests earmarks have grown from last year.

The fiscal year ends on September 30, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for appropriations bills to be passed and signed into law on time, something which has not happened since the mid-1990s.

At the same time, it has transpired that in addition to the $787 billion stimulus package and the $410 billion omnibus spending bill passed earlier this year, total earmarks have increased from $18.3 billion in 2008 to $19.9 billion in 2009, according to TheHill.com.

Earmarks are spending measures inserted into appropriations bills at the request of individual lawmakers and typically benefit projects in their home states. They are, according to Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, "part and parcel of the pay-to-play system that permeates Washington."

Democrats in both Houses are among those who have pushed for most pork barrel spending this fiscal year, with Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia leading the pack at $349.6 million (95 earmarks) and Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania who has won 46 of them at the cost to taxpayers of $120.5 million, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Meanwhile, a recent White House budget office estimate put the federal deficit at $9 trillion for the 2010-2019 time period.

FAIR insists Obama misleading public on healthcare

FAIR insists Obama misleading public on healthcare Despite the fallout from Representative Joe Wilson’s outburst, in which he accused President Obama of lying on the healthcare issue, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says there is evidence the government is not truthful about publicly-funded healthcare for illegal immigrants.

The organization says the proposed House bill known as America’s Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 (H.R. 3200) would allow illegal aliens to be covered by a government-run public option and would include no verification provisions to prevent them from receiving subsidies to purchase private insurance.

To support its claims, FAIR cites the study conducted by non-partisan Congressional Research Service entitled Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200 which concluded that the bill does not contain restrictions on noncitizens participating in the health insurance exchange, a scheme which would allow participants to enroll in a government-run program.

"There is no reason why the controversy over whether illegal aliens will be eligible for massive health care subsidies should persist," says Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

"[Its] authors can easily remove the ambiguities from the House bill, and Senate leaders can include specific language barring illegal aliens from all nonemergency benefits in the bill that is being written in that chamber," he adds.

Study stresses benefits of repealing estate tax

Study stresses benefits of repealing estate taxOpponents of estate tax may have received new ammunition with the publication of a study which says the provision’s repeal will contribute to economic growth and enhance government revenue.

The work is detailed in the report published jointly by the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Business Foundation and suggests eliminating the tax could create more than 1.5 million jobs.

"[Estate tax] kills jobs, family prosperity and necessary federal revenues," says FRC president Tony Perkins.

"It is regressive, punitive taxation at its worst, and shows how Washington’s impulse to redistribute wealth only produces less growth and greater economic inequity," he adds.

The study stresses the tax affects mainly small businesses, which it calls America’s "main economic engine," responsible for creating 60 to 80 percent of new jobs in the last decade. It estimates that raising the rate to 55 percent with only a $1 million exemption would eliminate 500,000 jobs.

The estate tax is imposed on the transfer of the taxable estate of a deceased person, and according to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the applicable exemption increases to $3.5 million in 2009, the tax will be repealed in 2010, but in 2011 it is scheduled to return with the exemption of only $1 million.

In speech to Congress Obama touts ‘cost saving’ public option

In speech to Congress Obama touts 'cost saving' public option In an eagerly awaited speech delivered before Congress on Wednesday, President Obama failed to rule out a government-run health insurance option as part of healthcare reform.

With the public growing increasingly skeptical about his plans to overhaul the ailing healthcare system, the President appeared in front of lawmakers to restate his case and reconfirm his administration’s commitment to ensuring that Americans will no longer have to fear bankruptcy caused by medical bills.

Stressing the U.S. is the only wealthy democracy that "allows such hardships for millions of its people," Obama sought to convince his listeners that his proposals would reduce costs, expand coverage, improve care and regulate the insurance market so that sick people are no longer denied coverage.

At the same time, he pledged he will not sign any bill that would increase the deficit, saying his proposal would cost $900 billion over 10 years.

Obama further warned special interests that he will not tolerate "the same old tactics," designed to block the reform.

"If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out," he stressed, adding, "I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now."

The Republican response to the speech came from Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana who criticized Obama for pushing an expansive package that fails to benefit families and small businesses. He also expressed his party’s disappointment with the President’s unwillingness to drop the public option idea, according to Politico.com.


U.S. pensions inch higher in August

U.S. pensions inch higher in August As global stock markets have rallied in recent weeks, the funding status of the typical U.S. corporate pension plan has increased, according to an asset management company.

The estimates from The Bank of New York Mellon Asset Management suggest that the funding of the typical plan improved by 0.5 percentage points to 79.7 percent at end of August, up from 79.2 percent at the end of July.

"Six straight months of improving stock markets have bolstered the assets of these plans, which is good news given the corresponding decline in Aa corporate bond yields," says Peter Austin, executive director of BNY Mellon Pension Services.

He further added that the stabilization of the markets combined with attractive corporate bond nominal yields have resulted in greater demand for high quality bonds, much of it generated by corporate pension plan sponsors seeking to better manage risk and reduce volatility.

The report also found that assets for the typical moderate risk portfolio increased 2.7 percent during the month, while the liabilities rose by only 2.1 percent. For the year through August 31, the funding ratio for the typical plan was up 5.8 percentage points.

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.

Emigrate to Canada & Beyond, and Leave U.S. Taxes Behind

More years ago than I care to recall, I graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (and GU Law too).

One of my SFS classmates from Canada told a memorable story about how his grandfather was constantly troubled about the possibility that “the Yanks were coming.” This elder Canadian, steeped in colonial history, was convinced that someday those ornery Americans would storm north across the border and invade again.

Well, in truth, a small number of Americans have headed north across that 5,525-mile long United States-Canadian border, famously styled as “the longest undefended border in the world.”

The objective of this migration is not to conquer, but to become Canadian citizens—and thereby reduce the American migrant’s U.S. taxes to zero.

Canada is not an offshore tax haven. Commonwealth and provincial taxes are relatively high. Except in specific programs designed to entice new immigrants to come to Canada (more on that below), there are few tax breaks for foreigners. However, little-known Canadian trust and tax laws, when properly employed, offer Americans a legal way to forever end the obligation to pay U.S. taxes—by becoming Canadians.


This unusual tax freedom is accomplished by a process known as “expatriation” in which a U.S. person voluntarily ends U.S. citizenship. That may seem extreme, but it can be done legally and consistent with U.S. and Canadian law—with the right expert professional legal and tax advisors.

American tax laws require “U.S. persons”—citizens or resident aliens—to pay income taxes on earnings from any source anywhere in the world no matter where they live. Unlike most other countries with “territorial” tax systems, a U.S. person can’t escape taxes by moving offshore.

By contrast, most other countries tax only the people who actually live within their borders. Canada for example, does impose taxes on the worldwide income of residents. But if a Canadian moves out of Canada and establishes a new residence in another country, the legal duty to pay Canadian taxes ends with few exceptions. This feature of Canadian tax law is an important part of our tax-saving expatriation plan.

Tax-Free New Residents

However tough taxes may be for the average Canadian, wealthy immigrants can take advantage of tax-free loopholes available only to them. Here are some of the options for high net worth immigrants who come to Canada:

1) A qualified immigrant accepted for eventual Canadian citizenship is eligible for a complete personal income tax moratorium for the first five calendar years of residence in Canada. They pay no taxes if the source of their income is a previously existing offshore, non-Canadian trust, (known as an “immigrant trust”) or an offshore corporation.

Because the high establishment and administrative costs of such a trust, it generally is best suited for immigrants who have at least $1 million or more in assets that can be placed in the offshore immigrant trust.

2) After living five years tax-free in Canada as a new citizen, the new Canadian can move his or her residence (and tax domicile) to another country, preferably a tax haven, and afterwards pay taxes only on income earned or paid from within Canada. They pay no taxes on their worldwide income. (There is a Canadian “departure” tax to be paid after filing a notice of intent to live abroad. There is no way of determining the exact rate of this tax since various types of property are taxed at differing rates.)

3) Canadian citizens and resident aliens employed by certain “international financial centers” are forgiven 50 percent of all income taxes.

4) Canada has abolished all national death (estate) taxes (but the provinces do have such taxes).

Investors Welcome

Canadian law favors a specific class of preferred immigrants including investors, entrepreneurs, the self-employed and those who will add to the “cultural and artistic life” of the nation. With minor variations in each of the provinces, investor immigrants generally must have a net worth in excess of C$500,000 (US$443,000) and be willing to invest at least C$250,000 (US$222,000) in a Canadian business for a minimum three- to five-year period. Purchase of a residence usually does not qualify as an investment, although it may if you work from home.

American Tax Burden

While most foreigners can relocate to a tax haven as a legal way to avoid home country income taxes, U.S. persons cannot. The only way a U.S. person can escape taxes is to end U.S. citizenship and residency—but only after acquiring a new citizenship from another country, another important step in the expatriation process. (No one wants to be the man or woman without a country!)

Let me assure doubters that, yes, this is legal. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Americans’ right to acquire another citizenship, to end their U.S. citizenship and to expatriate.

Likely Candidates

Q: Which Americans should consider expatriation?

A: Those concerned with high taxes. Without good estate planning, U.S. death taxes can take up to 55 percent of your assets from your heirs when you pass away—and that final tax insult comes after a working lifetime of paying up to 40 percent of your earnings in federal income taxes every year. Add in state and local income and sales taxes and you stand to lose in taxes well over half your earnings during your lifetime—and your heirs lose another half of what’s left at death.

The potential emigrant from America eventually must surrender U.S. citizenship in order to end U.S. tax obligations. But be aware of the new (2008) U.S. “exit tax” now in effect. If you qualify as what the law calls a “covered person” the exit tax may outweigh any benefit to be gained by immigration to Canada.

A Potential Savings of Millions of Dollars

There you have it. It may seem a difficult road to travel, but becoming a Canadian citizen investor can save a U.S. citizen millions of dollars that would otherwise go directly to the Internal Revenue Service.

Yes, these savings are predicated on major changes—including surrender of your U.S. citizenship. You must move yourself, your family and your business to Canada and possibly to another country later on. Despite these drawbacks, the true bottom line measured in dollar savings can be enormous.

–By Robert E. Bauman JD

Obama advisor resigns after alleging conspiracy

Obama advisor resigns after alleging conspiracy President Obama’s key environmental advisor has resigned after a petition he signed that suggested the 9/11 attacks were conducted with the knowledge of the previous administration was revealed online by bloggers.

At the heart of the controversy is a 2004 petition Van Jones signed which called for an investigation into whether government officials deliberately allowed the attacks to occur as a pretext of war. The petition can still be found on the internet, and Jones has distanced himself from it.

Jones, a close Obama aide and friend, was a member of the Council on Environmental Quality whose job it is to help implement the government’s agenda of creating millions of green jobs. His resignation was announced over the weekend, with the administration insisting Jones was not fired, but made the decision himself.

However, Jones appeared to lay the blame squarely on the Republicans saying in a statement that "on the eve of historic fights for healthcare and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," adding, "they are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."

Meanwhile, his departure was welcomed by Republicans with Representative Mike Pence of Indiana saying, "[such] extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration."

The development has also prompted critics to call for more careful vetting of the people appointed to the so-called "czar" positions within the administration.

Study analyzes retirement fund’s response to financial crisis

Study analyzes retirement fund's response to financial crisis A new survey has looked at how corporate pension funds have adjusted their investment programs in response to the economic downturn, including reducing their equity allocations and replacing fund managers.

The work was conducted by the consultancy Watson Wyatt, and found that 67 percent of companies have made or are planning to make changes to their defined benefit plan asset allocations in 2009 and 2010.

The senior-level financial executives from the organizations included in the poll estimate their average target equity allocations will decrease to 47.8 percent, which represents a drop of almost 10 percent from last year. The survey also found that nearly 73 percent of companies have hired or fired managers since June 2008.

"Given the current market, finding solutions to reduce exposure to risk and improve overall investment performance is critical," says Carl Hess, global director of investment consulting at Watson Wyatt.

"While some employers may be limited by the steps they can take, most should be able to find ways to better manage their risks, optimize returns and improve their overall governance strategies," he adds.

The survey also found that employers have made significant changes to their defined contribution plans, with 45 percent planning to add new U.S. equity funds to their lineup, and 62 percent dropping an existing U.S. equity fund this year or next.


Allergies threaten overweight kids more, researchers say

Allergies threaten overweight kids more, researchers say The list of reasons why parents may want to turn off the computer and send their kids outdoors has just grown longer, as a new study found obese youngsters are at a greater risk for developing allergies than their leaner peers.

The research conducted by experts from the National Institutes of Health examined data on more than 4,000 children aged 2 to 19 and analyzed their allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) or antibody levels developed in response to a range of indoor, outdoor and food allergens.

Overweight children, they found, were about 26 percent more likely to have high IgE levels and therefore develop allergies than those with normal weight.

Dr. Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS director, says the possible link between obesity and allergies should provide additional motivation for parents and teachers to undertake the challenge of reducing childhood obesity.

There are many natural approaches to losing weight, including physical exercise and a diet low in refined sugars and rich in fish, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as nutritional supplements with vitamin D that has been shown to help prevent obesity.

Fire emergency survival tips

Fire emergency survival tips As wildfires are raging in California it may be useful to keep some survival tips in mind, as fire is a type of emergency that can happen anywhere and anytime.

As with most emergencies, prevention is the best way to start. While some types of fire disasters may be better prevented by smoke detectors than others, it is always a good idea to install one at home as they have helped prevent loss of life. Installing fire extinguishers is also good practice.

Each household should have a fire emergency plan and conduct periodic drills to keep the escape plan fresh in mind. All members should know how to use fire extinguishers, know their way out of the house, have emergency phone numbers and working cell phones handy, and know where to meet afterward.

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) says that during a fire emergency, it is important to crawl low in smoke towards the nearest exit covering the mouth with a cloth and once outside never go back. Moreover, tall buildings should be evacuated via stairs not elevators, which can act as chimneys during fire.

When smoke is spotted, OEM says, it is crucial to leave the property first and then dial 911 as most people die from smoke inhalation and not from flames.

As many fires start in the kitchen, the source also suggests keeping combustible items away from the cooking area, and never pour water on grease fires. Rather, use a fire extinguisher or put a lid over the burning pan.

Those who live in areas prone to wildfires should take care to landscape the grounds properly and fireproof all buildings.


Study says citrus fruit ingredient may prevent metabolic syndrome

Study says citrus fruit ingredient may prevent metabolic syndrome According to new research, a compound called naringenin, which is a flavonoid found in citrus fruit, may become a valuable tool in the fight to prevent the onset of metabolic syndrome.

The condition is a combination of medical disorders, such as insulin resistance, that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

Researchers at the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario studied the impact of naringenin supplements and found that they lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and normalized glucose metabolism in animal models.

Murray Huff, director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts, says the research is unique in that the mice in the supplementation group and in the control group ate exactly the same amount of food and the same amount of fat.

"There was no suppression of appetite or decreased food intake, which are often the basis of strategies to reduce weight gain," he adds.

While grapefruits are a good source of naringenin, the researchers say the amount of the citrus-derived flavonoid needed to produce the desired results is higher than what can be obtained from dietary sources and additional supplementation may be necessary.

The findings were published online in the journal Diabetes.

The Lifeboat Strategy: Legally Protecting Wealth and Privacy in the 21st Century By Mark Nestmann

Identity theft, a falling dollar, rising inflation and an intrusive, over-reaching government are among the topics dominating the headlines these days. And they are frightening headlines, especially for those who aren’t prepared to protect themselves.

But Mark Nestmann’s The Lifeboat Strategy: Legally Protecting Wealth and Privacy in the 21st Century can give you the information you need and the steps to follow to help you to deal with today’s legal, economic and political uncertainties.

Nestmann is not just an author writing about a subject he has researched. As president of The Nestmann Group, Ltd., an international consultancy, he assists individuals in achieving their wealth preservation and privacy goals.

He also writes extensively about the subject. He serves as Tax and Asset Protection editor for The Sovereign Society, and he has authored other books and publications as well. Additionally, Nestmann is a graduate of Denison University and holds a LL.M. (Master of Laws) in international tax law from the Vienna University School of Economics and Business Administration in Austria.

The Lifeboat Strategy is laid out in such a way as to make it easy to read from beginning to end, or to find specific sections that deal with the subject of most concern. First written in 2003, the book has been updated several times, most recently for 2009.

Nestmann begins the book with a short “yes or no” quiz to give the reader an idea of his vulnerability to invasion of privacy. From there he explains the threats to wealth and privacy and how to overcome them both in the U.S. and abroad.

Did you know that your car and your cell phone are spying on you all the time? They are. And Nestmann explains how it works and what it means. Have you heard of biometric surveillance? It involves the use of fingerprints and DNA profiling to link people to crimes, and Nestmann tells how the government is compiling a vast database and how courts have upheld compulsory DNA profiling of certain convicted felons. Civil liberties experts believe such court decisions can be a precedent that allows the government to collect DNA samples from everyone.

What about Internet privacy? Recently the government has come under fire over a website encouraging people to report what it perceived as disinformation on government policies, and over information gathered through the “Cash for Clunkers” program via the computers of auto dealers. But those threats, though real, only scratch the surface of the Big Brother government’s intrusion into the lives of its citizens via the Internet.

The USA Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, is used by the government to invade the privacy of America’s own citizens. Nestmann explains the act and how it permits the government to confiscate property without proof of wrongdoing.

Nestmann also provides background on the many laws passed and court rulings handed down that have eroded the right to privacy American citizens think they enjoy.

Interested in obtaining an alternative citizenship and passport? Nestmann explains how it can be done legally. He also explains how to choose the best countries to store your assets and hide them from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Additionally, Nestmann covers such things as:

  • Twenty types of public records that can be used to steal your identity
  • The 10 worst electronic eavesdropping threats
  • Do you fit the definition of a "terrorist?" You may if you are a member of any of these organizations
  • Are you a "racketeer?" If you’ve ever made this simple mistake, you might be
  • Six legitimate ways individuals use offshore centers
  • What to do if police want to search you, your vehicle or your home
  • How to avoid looking like a "money launderer"
  • Fourteen ways to preserve postal privacy
  • Six tactics for private phone service
  • Eight ways to achieve "residential anonymity"
  • Twenty-two tactics to audit-proof your tax return
  • Ten tips for private banking
  • Six gold and silver investments you can buy and sell privately
  • Nine hiding places for your valuables
  • An ideal business for privacy seekers
  • Nineteen ways trusts protect privacy and wealth
  • Using corporations, limited liability companies and other business entities
  • Three types of international bank accounts—which one is right for you?
  • An anonymous safety deposit box
  • How to move money privately
  • How to invest your IRA or pension internationally

Thinking people are becoming increasingly aware of how their privacy wall is being chipped away in favor of Big Brother. This book will help you to understand all the threats you face and what you can do about them.

This book is a must have for every privacy- and liberty-minded individual.

It’s Eight Years since 9/11 and the March on Privacy Continues

Where were you eight years ago today at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time? What were you doing then? Do you remember?

Do you remember when you learned airliners had been used as weapons of mass destruction against America?

Sure you do. That memory is etched into your brain as permanently as if it had been carved into granite, just like other history-changing events: the assassination of JFK, the first moon landing, the Challenger explosion, the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. It’s tattooed there, with permanent ink.

And so is the feeling you had in the pit of your stomach. Anguish over thousands of lost souls—fellow Americans, mostly, but it didn’t matter where they were from. You knew they were gone… you didn’t know how many but you knew it must be thousands… and you were frightened because you didn’t know if more attacks were coming or when or where they would be.

There was anger, too. Anger that enough evil existed in the world to do such a thing. More anger that some were applauding it, as spontaneous celebrations broke out throughout the Middle East.

There was a resolve that began to form as well. A resolve to do whatever you could to help those affected. It took many forms, like donating blood or sending money to support rescue organizations like the American Red Cross.

There was also the beginning of a resolve to make sure those responsible were punished. That resolve was strengthened by the words of President George W. Bush when he stood in the rubble with his arm around a firefighter and spoke into that megaphone, “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

And they did. Less than a month later, on Oct. 7, bombs began falling on Afghanistan.

A lot has transpired since then, not all of it good.

There’s the American Patriot Act, passed hurriedly under the guise of helping to find terrorists but now being used more and more on Americans. There’s the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the Treasury Department, it is the government’s enormous financial data collection arm. It pulls in personal and information from the IRS, FBI, DEA and Secret Service, as well as customs and the postal inspection agency.

According to some experts, FinCEN taps into the National Security Council and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. FinCEN even gets information from the likes of your friendly banker.

There are Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) on anyone who engages in any “suspicious transaction relevant to a possible violation of law or regulation.” This includes such things as large money transfers or other activity deemed suspicious by a banker. The information is sent to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), among other places.

There has been the suspension of Habeas Corpus for American citizens. Remember Jose Padilla? He’s the accused “dirty bomb” suspect arrested as he stepped off an airliner at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago in May 2002. He then spent three and half years in a military brig in South Carolina, plus two more in a federal prison before his trial in January 2008.

During his military confinement he was subjected to prolonged isolation and intensive interrogations in conditions a judge called harsh. Still, no evidence of a dirty bomb plot was ever uncovered and Padilla’s conviction was for conspiring to help Islamic jihadist fighters abroad.

There are more onerous regulations on travel and invasive searches of airline passengers. Metal detectors now must be passed through to get into government buildings.

Eight years later our troops are still in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. Osama bin Laden has not been found—I think he’s been dead a long time—and al Qaeda are hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The war there is getting deadlier for U.S. troops by the day.

Pakistan, which signed on as an ally, has seen its government change hands and Islamo-fascist terrorists are fighting a war there in an effort to get there hands on the country’s nuclear weapons.

American troops remain in Iraq as well, where we fight a proxy war with Iran.

But we’re no longer fighting a war on terror. It’s an overseas contingency operation, and what used to be called terrorist attacks are now man-caused disasters.

No, the terrorists are now those who oppose government overreach. As reported on The Heritage Foundation website, Obama’s campaign organization, Organizing for America, sent out notice to its grassroots supporters to use today, Sept. 11, to wage a phone campaign calling U.S. Senators to pass healthcare reform. The Obama website—since scrubbed—said, “All 50 states are coordinating this—as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process…” A screenshot of the page and The Heritage Foundation’s story can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, terrorists captured on the battlefield where they were shooting at American and coalition soldiers and setting improvised explosive devices (IED) are going to be removed from the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and brought to the U.S., if the president and attorney general have their way.

They’re not going to be brought to the states just to stand trial. They’re going to be incarcerated here as well.

Not to worry, says Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, the worst of them will not be released on American soil. No, they’ll remain in prison where they can proselytize the American prison population and create real domestic terrorists.

As Americans awoke on that fateful morning eight years ago and began going about the business of their ordinary, workaday lives we were all blissfully ignorant of the catastrophe about to be hoisted upon America.

There were still big arguments over the Supreme Court ruling nine months earlier that cleared the way for a Bush presidency, and those on the left were concerned about the direction country would go politically. They were calling him fascist and Nazi.

Now it’s eight years later. A new president is being called Nazi, socialist and Marxist. And those on the right are worried about the direction the country is going politically.

It’s been eight years. The country is as divided now as it was at 8:45 a.m. that fateful day and the only thing that has progressed is the march against American privacy and freedom.

Lacking the Resources: The Drain in Real Assets & How to Profit From it

“The Golden Age of American capitalism is over… In the space of half a century it passed from gold, to silver, to paper, and now it is somewhere between plastic and naval lint.” Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin, The New Empire of Debt.

“The only thing the States is pumping these days is money.” A Calgary-based, multi-national oil executive.

I use to love to ski. But one March morning a couple of years ago it left me feeling pensive and depressed. I stood at the top of Silver Mountain Ski Resort, east of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and watched the lower clouds disperse.

I saw how Interstate 90 snaked through Idaho’s once-famous Silver Valley. But that day the only silver I would see was the giant reflective sign that stood over my shoulder.

Fresh snow had only dusted the mountain. Down below the Silver Valley was black and barren, closer to what you would see on the moon than to what you would experience in the Alps.

My research as a metals analyst reminded me that Silver Valley was the only place on earth where more than a billion ounces of silver have been mined. Since 1884 some 1.2 billion ounces of silver have been harvested in Shoshone County.

I left for home in the afternoon and looked at road signs. The towns along the valley proclaim you can revisit the past and see how it was in the days of the silver barons. But with the sun setting the surroundings looked more like they were from the days of the Jurassic than from the days of Hunt and Getty.

The landscape has been dug, drilled, mauled and mined, and whatever silver was in the region has been long since spent. In a way the Silver Valley is a microcosm for America’s over-harvest of its once-bountiful natural resources.

Fifty years ago the United States was the largest producer of oil and a net exporter. Today its number one import is crude oil. Each year the United States spends nearly $300 billion on foreign petroleum. But oil is not the only resource in shortage.

In 2007 five of the 10 fastest growing imports were: nickel (up 47 percent), feedstuff and food-grains (up 34 percent), precious metals (up 34 percent), tin (up 27 percent) and food oils and oilseeds (up 26 percent).

This year the United States will run a trade deficit of about $350 billion. More than 80 percent of that deficit will be for the purchase or raw materials.

Meanwhile America’s insatiable thirst for natural resources has some Canadians nervous.

“Could the U.S. takeover Canada?” asks the Aug. 20, 2009, Vancouver Sun. Perhaps not anytime soon the newspaper says, but there are reasons to be concerned.

The Sun concludes that Canadian politicians will become more protective of this nation’s sovereignty, “if Americans relentlessly continue their unsustainable consumption patterns even as U.S. resources keep on depleting.”

Given the 100-year trend, it is hard to imagine anything else.

America has always been relentless in its consumption of raw materials and it’s hard to see how that will change. The nation’s whole way of life is based on the excessive consumption of oil, land and minerals. It was the harvesting of those resources that made America great and at the same time addicted the country to a resource-intense lifestyle. But now the nation’s resources are running low.

For example, U.S. experienced peak oil production way back in 1970. Since then domestic oil production has been in a steep decline.

Today Canada funnels more than half the 3.4 million barrels of oil it produces daily to the U.S. and provides 82 percent of all U.S. natural gas imports.

Canada also sells a third of its hydroelectricity to U.S. markets and supplies a third of the uranium used in U.S. nuclear power plants.

Water, of course, is another resource soon to be in shortage. Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said at least 36 states are anticipating water shortages within five years. Again, Canada has excess water it can sell to the U.S. (not because Canadians have been better stewards of the land but because Canada has a richer inheritance and one-tenth the population.)

But even Canada does not have the wherewithal to meet all of America’s resource needs, never mind the needs of a thirsting world.

“In the 1960s most countries lived within their ecological resources,” writes guardian.co.uk. “But the latest figures show that today three-quarters of the world’s population live in countries which consume more than they can replenish.”

While Western economies have slowed to a crawl, China’s economy will grow by more than 8 percent this year. Each new day brings tons of new consumption of raw materials—everything from alfalfa to zinc. And as 1.3 billion Chinese continue to satisfy their growing Western tastes for everything from cars to washing machines, the finite supply of natural resources will get smaller and smaller.

According to guardian.co.uk, “The natural resource crisis is proving worse than the global financial crisis. We are using up the earth’s resources very fast; and as a result, we are heading for an ‘ecological credit crunch.'”

That is certainly an exaggeration from the Liberal left. But there is no denying that real assets are getting used up and at a record rate. If you don’t believe me, just look at some commodity price charts. Rising prices reflect growing scarcity or fears of scarcity.

Commodity markets are one of the only true free markets left, and if you ignore them it is at your own peril. Right now the CRB Index tells me that the commodity bull, while wounded in 2008, is very much alive and getting stronger. That means even higher prices for real assets across the board.

Action to take: A conservative but profitable way to play the commodity bull market is with a real asset fund. There are plenty of good real asset funds out there so talk to your stock broker. Just remember, when you invest in a real asset fund you are betting the price of commodities is going to go up. Given the recent weakness in the U.S. dollar and the continued global demand for commodities, I think this is a safe bet.

Yours for real wealth,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

Poll finds Romney, Huckabee the strongest contenders against Obama

Poll finds Romney, Huckabee the strongest contenders against ObamaA new survey compared leading Republican politicians’ strength as potential challengers to President Obama in the 2012 general election, and found Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee to be leading the pack.

The study conducted by Clarus Research Group (CRS), a nonpartisan research firm in Washington DC, shows the former Massachusetts governor with 38 percent of support among Americans against Obama’s 47 percent, with 15 percent undecided. A total of 38 percent would also vote for former Arkansas governor Huckabee, with 48 percent voting for the incumbent under that scenario.

"The fact that Obama falls below 50 percent against two possible Republican opponents should be troubling for him," says Ron Faucheux, president of CRS.

"It also shows that the electorate is increasingly divided on Obama, with significant partisan polarization," he adds.

CRS also says Obama’s support among swing voters has fallen since November 2008, when exit polls showed he won over John McCain by 52 percent to 44 percent among that group. Today, both Romney and Huckabee beat Obama among independent voters.

The Clarus poll furthermore found Romney is the most popular candidate among Republicans and independents who lean Republican for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, with 30 percent intending to vote for him. Meanwhile, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin can count on 19 percent support, followed by Newt Gingrich at 15 percent and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at a mere 4 percent.


Bicarbonate Maple Syrup Cancer Treatment (International Medical Veritas Association)

The bicarbonate maple syrup cancer treatment focuses on delivering natural chemotherapy in a way that effectively kills cancer cells, but significantly reduces the brutal side effects experienced with most standard chemotherapy treatments. In fact, so great is the reduction that the dangers are brought down to zero. Costs, which are a factor for the majority of people, of this particular treatment are nil.

Though this cancer treatment is very inexpensive, do not assume it is not effective. The bicarbonate maple syrup cancer treatment is a very significant cancer treatment every cancer patient should be familiar with, and it can easily be combined with other safe and effective natural treatments.

This cancer treatment is similar in principle to Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT). IPT treatment consists of giving doses of insulin to a fasting patient sufficient to lower blood sugar into the 50 mg/dl. In a normal person, when you take in sugar, the insulin levels go up to meet the need of getting that sugar into the cells.

In IPT they are artificially injecting insulin to deplete the blood of all sugar, then injecting the lower doses of toxic chemo drugs when the blood sugar is driven down to the lowest possible value. It is said that during the low peak the receptors are more sensitive and take on medications more rapidly and in higher amounts.

The bicarbonate maple syrup treatment works in reverse to IPT. Roman oncologist Dr. Tullio Simoncini acknowledges that cancer cells gobble up sugar, so when you encourage the intake of sugar it’s like sending in a Trojan horse. The sugar is not going to end up encouraging the further growth of the cancer colonies because the baking soda is going to kill the cells before they have a chance to grow.

Instead of artificially manipulating insulin and thus forcefully driving down blood sugar levels to then inject toxic chemo agents, we combine the sugar with the bicarbonate and present it to the cancer cells, which at first are going to love the present. But not for long!

This treatment is a combination of pure, 100 percent maple syrup and baking soda and was first reported on the www.CancerTutor.com site. When mixed and heated together, the maple syrup and baking soda bind together. The maple syrup targets cancer cells (which consume 15 times more glucose than normal cells) and the baking soda, which is dragged into the cancer cell by the maple syrup, being very alkaline, forces a rapid shift in pH—thereby killing the cell.

The actual formula is to mix one part baking soda with three parts maple syrup (pure, 100 percent) in a small saucepan. Stir briskly and heat the mixture for five minutes. Cancer Tutor suggests taking 1 teaspoon daily, but one could probably do this several times a day.

"There is not a tumor on God’s green earth that cannot be licked with a little baking soda and maple syrup." That is the astonishing claim of controversial folk healer Jim Kelmun who says that this simple home remedy can stop and reverse the deadly growth of cancers. His loyal patients swear by the man they fondly call Dr. Jim and say he is a miracle worker.

"Dr. Jim cured me of lung cancer," said farmer Ian Roadhouse. "Those other doctors told me that I was a goner and had less than six months to live. But the doc put me on his mixture and in a couple of months the cancer was gone. It did not even show up on the x-rays."

Dr. Jim discovered this treatment accidentally somewhere in the middle of the last century when he was treating a family plagued by breast cancer. There were five sisters in the family and four of them had died of breast cancer. He asked the remaining sister if there was anything different in her diet, and she told him that she was partial to sipping maple syrup and baking soda.

Since then, reported by a newspaper in Asheville, N.C., Dr. Jim dispensed this remedy to more than 200 people diagnosed with terminal cancer. Amazingly, he claims of that number, 185 lived at least 15 more years and nearly half enjoyed a complete remission of their disease.

When combined with other safe and effective treatments—like transdermal magnesium therapy, iodine, vitamin C, probiotics and other things like plenty of good sun exposure, pure water and clay treatments—we should expect even higher remission rates.

It is very important not to use baking soda which has had aluminum added to it. The Cancer Tutor site reports that the Arm and Hammer® brand does have aluminum, but the company insists that is not true. One can buy a product which specifically states it does not include aluminum or other chemicals. (e.g., Bob’s Red Mill, Aluminum-Free, Baking Soda).

Sodium bicarbonate is safe, extremely inexpensive and unstoppably effective when it comes to cancer tissues. It’s an irresistible chemical—cyanide to cancer cells for it hits the cancer cells with a shock wave of alkalinity—which allows much more oxygen into the cancer cells than they can tolerate. Cancer cells cannot survive in the presence of high levels of oxygen. Studies have already shown how manipulation of tumor pH with sodium bicarbonate enhances some forms of chemotherapy.

"The therapeutic treatment of bicarbonate salts can be administered orally, through aerosol, intravenously and through catheter for direct targeting of tumors," says Dr. Simoncini. "Sodium bicarbonate administered orally, via aerosol or intravenously can achieve positive results only in some tumors, while others—such as the serious ones of the brain or the bones—remain unaffected by the treatment."

The maple syrup apparently enables and increases penetration of bicarbonate into all compartments of the body, even those which are difficult or impossible to penetrate by other means. These compartments include the central nervous system (CNS), through the blood-brain barrier, joints, solid tumors and perhaps even the eyes. IPT makes cell membranes more permeable and increases uptake of drugs into cells.

The maple syrup will make tissues more permeable, too. It will transport the bicarbonate across the blood-brain barrier and every other barrier in the body for sugar is universally needed by all cells in the body.

The essence of IPT is that it allows cancer drugs to be given in a smaller dose, far less toxic to normal cells, while building up lethally toxic concentrations in cancer cells. Both IPT and bicarbonate maple syrup treatments use the rapid growth mechanisms of the cancer cell against them.

Dr. Jim did not have contact with Dr. Simoncini and did not know that he is the only oncologist in the world who would sustain the combining of sugar with bicarbonate. Dr. Simoncini always directs his patients to dramatically increase sugar intake with his treatments, but has never thought to mix the two directly by cooking them together.

Because his treatments depend on interventionist radiologists who insert catheters to direct the bicarbonate as close to the affected area as possible, or physicians willing to do expensive intravenous treatments, I pushed bicarbonate up into the number six slot in the IMVA cancer protocol. With the discovery of Dr. Jim’s work, bicarbonate comes back into our number three spot right behind magnesium chloride and iodine.

That number three slot for a brief time was held by hemp oil containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The great advantage that maple syrup and bicarbonate treatment has over this type hemp oil is that it is legal, thus easily obtainable. The two together, backed by a solid protocol of other nutritional substances, make winning the war on cancer almost a certainty.

When using these substances it is safer to change one’s vocabulary and not say one is treating and curing cancer. Far better to conceptualize that one is treating the infectious aspect of cancer, the fungus and yeast colonies and the yeast-like bacteria that are the cause of tuberculosis (TB).

Dr. Simoncini says that, "In some cases, the aggressive power of fungi is so great as to allow it, with only a cellular ring made up of three units, to tighten in its grip, capture and kill its prey in a short time, notwithstanding the prey’s desperate struggling. Fungus, which is the most powerful and the most organized micro-organism known, seems to be an extremely logical candidate as a cause of neoplastic proliferation."

The pH of the blood is the most important factor to determine the state of the microorganisms in the blood.

"Sodium bicarbonate therapy is harmless, fast and effective because it is extremely diffusible. A therapy with bicarbonate for cancer should be set up with strong dosage, continuously, and with pauseless cycles in a destruction work which should proceed from the beginning to the end without interruption for at least seven or eight days. In general, a mass of 2, 3 or 4 centimeters will begin to consistently regress from the third to the fourth day, and collapses from the fourth to the fifth," says Dr. Simoncini.

There are many ways to use sodium bicarbonate and it is a universal drug like iodine and magnesium chloride. Raising pH increases the immune system’s ability to kill bacteria, concludes a study conducted at The Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine in London. Viruses and bacteria that cause bronchitis and colds thrive in an acidic environment. To fight a respiratory infection and dampen symptoms such as a runny nose and sore throat, taking an alkalizing mixture of sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate will certainly help.

The 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda taken two times or more a day is another treatment, as is lemon and baking soda, or lime and baking soda formulas. Perhaps honey could be substituted for maple syrup for those who live in parts of the world where maple syrup is not available, but to my knowledge no one has experimented with this. —Mark Sircus Ac., OMD

As dollar slips, gold rises more than 2 percent

As dollar slips, gold rises more than 2 percent Precious metal prices rallied on Wednesday as U.S. economic data caused the dollar to weaken again and prompted investors to look for safety.

The gold price finished near the high of $979.35, a gain of 2.2 percent, while silver rose to $15.46, marking a 1.9 percent increase on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as investors appeared nervous after a monthly unemployment report showed 298,000 jobs were lost in the private sector in August.

In addition to that, factory orders for July ended below most analysts’ expectations, and inflation fears were revived as the dollar slid as much as 0.6 percent against the euro.

"If inflation is going to rear its head, and there’s some economic data to support that, then we could see [gold prices move higher]," said Michael Khouw, director of equity derivatives for Cantor Fitzgerald LP, quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

As Wednesday’s closing price of gold was at a near three-month high, trading in shares of metals companies such as Gold Fields and Yamana Gold was strong in the options market.