When Thanksgiving was a Moving Target

Are you old enough to remember when Thanksgiving would have taken place last week? The story of why a few million turkeys now get an extra week to live is a great example of what government meddling can do. As Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story.

Although various “days of thanksgiving” had been proclaimed by Presidents since George Washington, it was first made a national holiday in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln wanted to give special thanks for the Union victory in the Battle of Gettysburg. For the next 75 years, America celebrated Thanksgiving on the final Thursday in November.

But in 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was persuaded to move the holiday a week earlier. Why? So there would be more shopping days before Christmas.

I kid you not. The country was still suffering from the Great Depression and FDR believed that with more days to shop, Americans would somehow spend more money, thus helping to revitalize the economy.

But instead of an economic boom, Roosevelt’s decision produced social chaos. Most schools and businesses had already scheduled their Thanksgiving holidays. Many colleges had planned their homecoming weekends for a week later, around a traditional Thanksgiving football game. Most devastated of all, however, were the calendar makers, who had already printed calendars for both 1939 and 1940 with what was now the wrong date for Thanksgiving.

A number of states refused to recognize the “new” day of Thanksgiving. Families with relatives in both New York and Connecticut couldn’t celebrate together because each state recognized a different day. The controversy didn’t end for three years, when Congress passed a law declaring that Thanksgiving would henceforth be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

Instead of Thanksgiving at home this year, we’re traveling north to visit some of our extended family. But we’re still looking forward to the traditional meal of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. I hope you enjoy a wonderful feast tomorrow as well. And that you’ll pause to give thanks for the many blessings we still enjoy.

—Chip Wood

Study: Meditation Can Lower Blood Pressure And Increase Coping Ability

Meditation can lower blood pressure and increase coping ability, study saysA recent study to be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Hypertension, suggests that the practice of transcendental meditation may lower blood pressure and reduce mental anguish in people who suffer from hypertension, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Conducted at American University, the research followed nearly 300 students, half of which practiced transcendental meditation on a daily basis over a three-month period of time.

Subjects in the meditation group who were at an elevated risk of hypertension considerably lowered their blood pressure and psychological distress levels while strengthening their coping ability.

Individuals who meditated who were not at a risk of hypertension saw a decline in depression, anxiety as well as an increased coping ability, but no substantial lowering of their blood pressure.

"This is the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that a selected mind-body intervention, the transcendental meditation program, decreased blood pressure in association with decreased psychological distress and increased coping in young adults at risk for hypertension," said the authors of the study, quoted by ModernMedicine.com.

The Mayo Clinic states that meditation can give one a sense of "calm" and can help "improve certain medical conditions."

I Need More ZZZZZs Please!

The National Institutes of Health estimates that 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems. Try some of these helpful hints if restless nights are stealing your sweet dreams:

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine and nicotine can delay your sleep, and alcohol may interrupt your sleep later in the night.
  • Exercise regularly—but do so at least three hours before bedtime. A workout closer to bedtime may keep you awake because your body has not had a chance to cool down.
  • If you have trouble sleeping at night, skip the daytime naps. Midday snoozing may stop you from resting well at night.
  • Make your sleep environment pleasant, comfortable, dark and quiet.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine to help you unwind. It can also signal your brain that it’s time to sleep.
  • If you can’t go to sleep after 30 minutes, get up and involve yourself in a relaxing activity. Listen to soothing music or read until you feel sleepy.

The Arthritis Obstruction Patterns: Differentiation of Syndrome is the Key to Relief

Did you know that arthritis is believed to be the oldest discovered ailment? Scientists have found this disease in the joints of some dinosaurs and even mummies!

It’s no wonder that the Arthritis Foundation estimates that some 59 million Americans will have arthritis by the year 2020. That’s nearly 20 percent of the population!

As a term, arthritis means “joint inflammation.” While there are many forms of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a degenerative condition that is caused when the joint cartilage begins to break down, either from prolonged wear-and-tear, traumatic injury or infection, thus leading to a bony enlargement.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease of the autoimmune system that causes inflammation of the synovial membrane (joint lining) and destruction and deformity of bone, cartilage, ligament and muscle tissue.

Regardless of type, common arthritic symptoms include pain in the joints, redness and swelling of the joints and loss of joint function. The pain of osteoarthritis gradually worsens with use over the course of the day, whereas the pain of rheumatoid arthritis tends to be worse on waking and improves as the day progresses.

Ancient Approach to Ancient Disease
Mainstream medicine has no cure for arthritis. In fact, physicians have no real way of knowing if someone is getting arthritis until its symptoms begin. At that point, doctors advise rest, exercise and a two-pronged drug therapy approach.

Given that arthritis is the oldest disease known to man, it only makes sense that the Chinese have been diagnosing and treating it for thousands of years. Yet doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) do not look at it as a disease. Rather, they see it as an “obstruction pattern” which can be differentiated, depending on signs and symptoms. Once the obstruction pattern is identified the pattern of imbalance can be corrected.

According to the theories of TCM, one can contract an obstruction pattern when wind, cold, dampness and/or heat enter the body and lodge in the meridian channels and network vessels. These are the energy channels of acupuncture and spaces between joints, muscles and organs. This leads to impairment of blood and body fluids which then causes such signs and symptoms as achy pain, impaired joint movement, numbness, tingling and/or heaviness of the limbs.

There are two main obstruction patterns in TCM. They are Wind-Cold-Damp and Wind-Damp-Heat. Identifying which pattern you have gives you clues to its treatment. Let’s take a look at the patterns now.

The Wind-Cold-Damp pattern is caused by wind, cold and/or dampness invading the body when immunity is low. Think of when you have been tired and worn out and suddenly caught a cold or started experiencing back pain or headaches. This is the same thing. Your immune system is low and is therefore unable to “defend” against the cold and dampness, which then congregate around the joints, thereby restricting movement and causing pain.

Wind-Cold-Damp obstruction pattern is further differentiated as Moving Obstruction, Painful Obstruction and Fixed Obstruction.

Moving (Wind) Obstruction finds the pain in the joints tends to move or wander from location—like the movement of wind. Symptoms include impaired movement of the joints that changes location and an aversion to wind. It may be accompanied by fever and chills, a tongue with yellow fur-like build-up and a rapid pulse.

Painful (Cold) Obstruction finds severe pain in one location. Symptoms include impaired movement of specific joints, pain that is worse when exposed to cold and is alleviated when exposed to warmth, thin, white fur-like build-up on the tongue and a pulse that is generally considered tight and wiry.

Fixed (Damp) Obstruction finds the pain to be fixed or in its location. Symptoms include numbness and swelling of the skin and heaviness of the limbs with worsening conditions in weather that is cool, cold or damp. The tongue will have a coating that is greasy and the pulse will be moderate.

The Wind-Damp-Heat pattern is caused when wind, dampness and/or heat lodges in the body. This can easily happen when immunity is low during the long hot/humid/damp summer days.

Symptoms include hot skin, swelling and red color of painful areas that increases with contact. Since it is a heat condition, there is often dehydration causing dry mouth, dark concentrated urine, constipation, a tongue with greasy, yellow fur-like build-up and a rapid pulse.

How to Prevent and Alleviate Arthritis

Since TCM differentiates between the syndromes of obstruction, it does not treat each pattern of arthritis in the same way. Various acupuncture points would be needled and herbal medicines would be used to do any number of the following: eliminate wind and/or dampness, dissipate cold, warm the channels, free the network vessels, resolve heat toxin and stop pain.

If you live in an area where there are acupuncturists or Chinese herbalists, I recommend consulting them for treatment. Additionally, there are five simple things that you can do yourself to help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of arthritis:

  1. Be mindful of wear-and-tear on the joints through repetitive stresses or strained activities, such as running, lifting, machine work, dancing, martial arts, etc. Try to take a break or change position (or activity) often to decrease chances of breakdown. Be sure to warm up the muscles and joints properly before engaging in such activities.
  1. Inactivity can also lead to joint problems, since lack of exercise or movement in general can weaken the joint-supporting musculature and decrease mobility. A joint, like a muscle, that is not used enough will atrophy, becoming weak, stiff, dysfunctional and prone to injury. So get up and move around, clean the house or exercise as often as possible. Movement is the key here.
  1. Studies have shown that obese individuals are at risk for developing arthritis because of the constant load placed on the joints, especially the knees and hips. Changing your diet and exercise habits will help prevent this from happening!
  1. If you have Wind-Cold-Damp obstruction pattern “arthritis,” you can wear gloves and dress warmly in winter, avoid cold beverages, eat warm food and beverages and use heat as therapy on painful days.
  1. If you have Wind-Damp-Heat obstruction pattern “arthritis,” you can refrain from too many spicy foods and diuretic beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol and those high in sugar. On painful days you can use ice as therapy.

In another article I will share with you the results of a study on arthritis and a certain drink. Until then, if you are suffering, please see which of the above “obstruction patterns” you most closely fall into and then incorporate the above-mentioned tips as appropriate.

Yours in self-directed wellness,

—Dr. Mark Wiley

Democrats Break Judicial Nominee Filibuster, Head To Vote

Democrats break judicial nominee filibuster, head to voteRepublican lawmakers’ attempts to block the vote on President Obama’s first judicial nomination were thwarted when the Senate voted 70-29 last week to end the filibuster.

U.S. District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana was nominated to fill a vacancy on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but a group of Republicans launched a major offensive against his candidacy.

Hamilton alienated conservatives with his rulings against Christian prayers in the Indiana legislature and against a menorah in the Indiana Municipal Building’s holiday display. He also drew criticism for striking down part of an Indiana law requiring women seeking an abortion to make two trips to a clinic for counseling, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The nominee has also been accused on judicial activism after comments in which he suggested that a judge’s job is to "write a series of footnotes to the Constitution," quoted by CNSNews.com.

However, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the attempt at a filibuster was an example of "more of the partisan, narrow, ideological tactics that Senate Republicans have been engaging in for decades as they try to pack the courts with ultraconservative judges," quoted by the AP.

To end the filibuster the Senate needed 60 votes, but confirmation only requires a simple majority and Hamilton is expected to be elevated to the Chicago-based court.

Funding For Amtrak Hinges On Gun Policy Amendment

Funding for Amtrak hinges on gun policy amendment The upcoming debate in the House-Senate conference committee on the transportation funding bill is expected to pit advocates of gun rights against those who are concerned about the risk of greater violence on the nation’s transportation network.

The bill includes an amendment introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss), that would withhold $1.5 billion in Amtrak funding unless the company allows passengers to travel with firearms in their checked luggage.

Among the supporters of the measure is the National Rifle Association (NRA) which sees it as a vindication of Second Amendment rights. However, opponents have been alarmed by Amtrak’s admission that the carrier is unable to check baggage at 70 percent of stations and does not have the resources to secure checked luggage at the remaining 30 percent, according to Newsweek.

Moreover, in a recent letter several lawmakers from both parties wrote that "the deadly terrorist bombings of commuter trains in Madrid in 2004 and the ‘commando-style’ terrorist attack on a major rail station last November in Mumbai have emphasized the importance of passenger rail security in large urban areas," quoted by the news provider.

The House version of the transportation bill does not include the NRA-backed amendment, and the work is now underway to reconcile the two bills.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the number of new guns in the U.S. increases by about 4.5 million annually.

Study: Women Vulnerable To Vitamin A Deficiency

Women vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency, study finds Scientists at Newcastle University have found that nearly half of UK women may be suffering from vitamin A deficiency due to a genetic variation.

The study, led by Dr. Georg Lietz, showed that 47 percent of women had a genetic disorder that reduced their ability to produce an adequate amount of vitamin A from beta-carotene.

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, protects people from infections, helps maintain healthy skin and strengthens the immune system.

The study also found that those who were suffering from the genetic variation were not eating enough vitamin A rich foods, such as dairy products, to properly compensate and reach the optimum level of the vitamin that their body needs to function properly.

"Vitamin A is incredibly important," explained Lietz. "Particularly at this time of year when we are all trying to fight off the winter colds and flu."

Lietz added that younger women are at a higher risk than the older generations who tend to eat more foods rich in vitamin A.

The next step in the study is to see if there is a genetic variation in men that inhibits their ability to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin A from beta-carotene.

Cosmetic Surgeons Speak Out Against Tax Increase

Cosmetic surgeons speak out against tax increaseEarlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a late change to the healthcare reform bill that will levy a 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgery to help supplement the legislation’s $849 billion price tag.

The plan, which is projected to raise approximately $6 billion in tax revenue, would not apply to surgeries that are in response to injury or deformity, but would include all elective cosmetic procedures.

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) is vigorously opposing the plan, stating that the tax is discriminatory against women, who make up the majority of cosmetic surgery patients.

The AAFPRS also states that experts have found that approximately 60 percent of plastic surgery clients reported a household income between $30,000 and $90,000 annually.

"The common misconception is that this is going to tax wealthy, suburban Republican women," said Dr Phil Haeck, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, quoted by the Associated Press.

While speaking against these tax increases, an Op Ed article in the Los Angeles Times points out that elective cosmetic surgeries are not covered by insurance and that they don’t contribute to rising healthcare costs.

TaxFoundation.org stated in 2005 that "selective excise taxes on cosmetic surgery may be a politically painless ways to boost short-term revenues, but that doesn’t make them good long-term tax policy."

Fiorina's Conservative Credentials Questioned By Fellow Republicans

Fiorina's conservative credentials questioned by fellow RepublicansAfter months of speculation, former CEO of Hewlett Packard Carly Fiorina announced Nov. 4 that she would be running as a Republican for the seat currently held by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. Since then, Fiorina has been outspokenly critical toward the incumbent but also had her conservative credentials questioned by several members of the GOP.

During the announcement of her candidacy Fiorina immediately went on the offensive, questioning Boxer’s political contributions during her time in office.

"Sometimes I wonder whether California even has two U.S. senators," said Fiorina, quoted by Southern California Public Radio. "There’s Dianne Feinstein and there’s what’s-her-name," she added.

Meanwhile, Fiorina’s Republican opponent, State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, has classified the former executive as a moderate with no political track record, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Fiorina has described herself as a pro-life, fiscal conservative and has signed a pledge opposing increases in income taxes while being outspokenly critical of the proposed healthcare bill.

"She has no background in politics, no experience in public policy, no transferable believability on the issues," said GOP activist Steve Frank, quoted the news source. "She may be a conservative, but how do we know?" he asked.

However, Fiorina has also collected numerous endorsements within the Republican Party including Tom Coburn and John McCain. Meanwhile, DeVore has stated that he has support from the majority of elected GOP officials in California, according to the AP.


Should I Eliminate Salt From My Diet

Dear Bob,

I have been told that I use too much salt and I should virtually eliminate it from my diet. Is this so?

A: Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., says in his book Salt, Your Way To Health, "It is impossible to have an optimal functioning immune system when there is a salt-deficient state present… a low-salt diet has been associated with a greater than 400% increase in risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in men."

Think how chemically close ocean salt water is to human blood. Both strive for stasis. The ocean is always clean no matter how many animals die within it. This is due to its chlorine content of sodium chloride, and also to the chlorides of magnesium, calcium and other minerals. The chlorine is invaluable to health and longevity to human and sea life.

When I go to the ocean, I always bring back two gallons of sea water. I take at least one tablespoon per day. I learned this from Dr. Royal Lee’s lectures. (More information on Dr. Lee can be found in his books and lectures which can be found at www.amazon.com and other locations.)

Best Wishes,

Critics Say Fed’s Overdraft Rules Are ‘Not Enough’

Critics say Fed's overdraft rules are 'not enough'Recently, the Federal Reserve said that beginning next July financial institutions will be prohibited from charging overdraft fees without their clients’ consent.

The new regulations mean that banks will only be allowed to levy fees for overdrafts on ATM and debit card transactions if account holders sign up for the plan.

According to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke the regulations will protect consumers so that "both new and existing account holders will be able to make informed decisions about whether to sign up for an overdraft service."

While the move was welcomed by Consumers Union, its representative stated that the new rules do not go far enough and said proposals currently considered in Congress would provide stronger protections.

Legislation introduced by House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, both Democrats, also includes a ban on automatic overdraft protection of checks and recurring charges which the Fed failed to ban.

Dodd has furthermore introduced legislation to strip the Fed of authority for regulating banks and give Congress a greater voice in naming the central bank officials who set interest rates, according to Bloomberg.


The Stealth System

According to Webster’s Third International Dictionary, “stealth” means, “something stolen,the act or action of proceeding secretly or imperceptibly.”

And according to Black’s Law Dictionary 6th Edition, stealth means, “secret or the act of stealing when the victim is unaware of the theft. Any secret, sly or clandestine act to avoid discovery and to gain entrance into or to remain within residence of another without permission.”

In my view, stealth needs further definition. Stealth should be categorized as being in existence where there is total unawareness by the victim(s). Also, stealth should be characterized as being secretly operative over very long periods of time, so as to be sacrosanct and institutionalized.

An example is the Federal Reserve and its companion, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Time bestows legitimacy. This means that millions of people are born into the system who never question its legitimacy, legality or morality.

The more generations that pass the more entrenched the stealth. So again, time bestows legitimacy and suffocates inquiry. The people who understand stealth can understand government and predict the future.

This, my friends, is a very, very small number of people. It is my prayer that all the readers of Personal Liberty Digest will understand stealth as soon as possible. If so, you will be translated from the frivolous to reality.

The work-a-day world consumes the crowd. They have so much noise in their lives that they have neither the time nor the imperative to understand monetary realism and the legalized and official theft that is undermining every vestige of their lives and their future.

The stealth system of “legal” theft has been in place in the U.S. since the establishment of the Federal Reserve and the IRS in 1913. Neither is legal, but neither can be investigated and reversed. (Ask yourself why, even with 311 co-sponsors on the 435-member House of Representatives, Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve—H.R. 1207—has not been voted on, nor has the Senate’s companion bill—S. 604—which has 30 co-sponsors.)

We are on a fiat paper money dollar system and all who earn dollars and save dollars have depreciating currency with depreciating assets. This depreciating currency (inflation of prices) slowly reduces the value of their savings and their standard of living. The middle class destruction is in full view to anyone who has the wisdom to look.

The stealth system has a cover of very sophisticated propaganda. Trust in the system guarantees the propaganda cover. People who trust the system never inquire past the propaganda and that is by far the majority; but, hopefully, that is not you.  

The system operates on the certainty that the crowd will believe the propaganda cover. If the crowd stopped believing the propaganda, the stealth system would collapse and human liberty would return. If the stealth system were to collapse, the vast army of parasites—people like lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc.—would have to find honest work. Oh, they are not all bad, but most are.

How do we escape the system of stealth? Start believing just the opposite of all political, economic and geopolitical pronouncements. This alone will catapult you into reality. If the trauma is too severe, return to slavery. You will be welcomed to become a “taxpayer” again.

The key to understanding propaganda: Governments never allow individual or media attacks on the esoteric monetary system i.e. the Federal Reserve and the IRS.

The stealth system knows the propaganda value of phony opposition. Feigned opposition as in political parties keeps the simple blinded and all debate is on spurious issues. Decoys are as important to the stealth system as they are to duck hunters. Spurious debate is a constant diversion. It is noise.

The most educated, professional and sophisticated thinkers are conditioned and limited unless and until they escape the stealth parameters of thought. Until we believe that reality is outside the box, we can do no better than frivolity, diversion and self deception.

We can never know cause and effect. When you encounter an educated fool, escape as fast as possible lest you be tainted with his nonsense.

People who never question authority, custom and tradition are unthinking fools.

You Are a Taxpayer
You are a taxpayer if you earn or save dollars. You are involved in coin clipping.

Coin clipping refers to the old gold and silver coins in regimes that had not discovered paper money. They could not print new gold coins so people would clip off small amounts and melt them into new coins. This of course is a less seductive form of currency depreciation.

But today every new dollar printed dilutes those dollars already in existence. So you pay taxes to the extent of currency depreciation that most see as price inflation at the grocery store. More stealth!

Taxpayers are not just those who fill out tax returns and write checks to the IRS.

Money printing is a stealth tax paid by all who deal in dollars. No, it’s not public policy, it’s stealth policy, never announced and never admitted, and especially never to the media.

Acid Reflux May Be Treated With Natural Products

Acid reflux may be treated with natural products Heartburn, which affects as many as 60 million Americans each month, can be so intense that some have mistaken it for a heart attack. However, there are natural ways to reduce acid reflux that can also help you avoid potentially harmful side effects of prescription medications.

WebMD.com, a medical information website, says commonly consumed foods can trigger heartburn, and they include chocolate, orange juice, coffee, tomato-based sauces, wine and greasy foods. Therefore, cutting back on these items, as well as reducing portion sizes, can go a long way towards eliminating the painful condition.

Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly can help too, the source adds. Moreover, sufferers should eat at least two or three hours before lying down to give the stomach time to digest and empty some of the acids that can cause pain.

Among other natural approaches that have been recommended by heath practitioners are probiotics and acupuncture, while a recent study has found that beet root extract may be helpful for relieving symptoms the condition.

Alternative medicine expert and author Kevin Trudeau told NaturalNews.com that eating raw, organic foods and adding living enzymes to the diet can eliminate heartburn. He further recommends drinking a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before eating.

Given that stress has been linked to digestive problems, eliminating it through exercise and yoga can bring additional benefits.

Chicago Mayor Blames Fort Hood Massacre On Guns, But Some Disagree

Chicago mayor blames Fort Hood massacre on guns, but some disagreeChicago Mayor Richard Daley attracted considerable criticism when he sought to blame the fatal shooting at Fort Hood on the popularity of guns in America.

Speaking as he toured a school project in Chicago on Nov. 9, Daley said that "unfortunately, America loves guns," and added that "we love guns to a point that we see the devastation on a daily basis," quoted by Fox News.

These comments created a firestorm among gun-rights advocates such as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

The organization’s chairman Alan Gottlieb accused Daley of trying to use the tragedy to "push his gun prohibition agenda," and "destroy" Second Amendment rights.

"America must ignore the ravings of anti-gun fanatics," he added, "who are so blinded by a hatred for individual liberty and personal protection that they cannot see how foolish and petty they have become."

Gottlieb also suggested that former President Bill Clinton may share part of the blame for the shooting since he instituted a ban on the carrying of firearms by military personnel on their bases.

On Nov. 5, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist, allegedly opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center at the base, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others.

According to the Associated Press, at least one of the guns used in the killings, a 5.7-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, was legally purchased by the suspect at a Texas gun shop.

Holder Comes Under Fire For Post-Fort Hood Gun Control Proposals

Holder comes under fire for post-Fort Hood gun control proposals During a recent appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the issue of gun control in a way that has drawn criticism from gun rights organizations.

The Attorney General reportedly expressed the administration’s support for a national gun owner registration scheme and for banning firearm possession for any person whose name is on the terrorism watch list.

"It appears those committed to attacking gun owners and the Second Amendment are engaged in blaming guns and gun owners on the heels of this terrorist attack [at Fort Hood]," said the spokesperson for the Law Enforcement Alliance of America Ted Deeds.

"Sadly it looks like ‘politics as usual’," he added.

However, Violence Policy Center joined six other national gun violence prevention organizations yesterday in sending a letter to the White House in which they urged President Obama to use his executive powers to ban the import into the U.S. of the FN Herstal Five-seveN armor-piercing semiautomatic pistol.

"[We also call on you] to join us in pushing for other much-needed policy changes to help reduce America’s epidemic of gun violence, such as gaps in the federal background check system that allow suspected terrorists to legally buy guns," the letter stated.

The coalition says their appeal was spurred by the November 5 shooting at Fort Hood which left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded.

DHS Chief Says U.S. Borders More Secure, But Some Disagree

DHS chief says U.S. borders more secure, but some disagree Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the government is meeting many of the benchmarks which were set in 2007 as a prerequisite to immigration reform, according to media reports.

Speaking last Friday at the Center for American Progress, Napolitano said 600 miles of border fence have been completed to date and more than 20,000 Border Patrol agents have been hired, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

"I’ve been dealing hands-on with immigration issues since 1993, so trust me: I know a major shift when I see one, and what I have seen makes reform far more attainable this time around," she said, quoted by the news provider.

However, Terence P. Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of CNSNews.com, recently quoted Lloyd Easterling, acting director of media relations for the DHS, as saying that Border Patrol is planning to decrease the number of agents on the U.S.-Mexico border by 384 in fiscal year 2010 which started on Oct 1.

In addition, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, expressed concerns about the more than 400 miles of border with Mexico which are still open.

The AP says the 2006 immigration enforcement legislation called for 700 miles of border fences and barriers to be built, and it quotes immigration critics who say the existing fence has not been built with double layers as the law requires.

Terrorism Trial Critics Increasingly Vocal

Terrorism trial critics increasingly vocal In the wake of the White House decision to transfer five individuals to New York for trial who are accused of 9/11 attacks, media reports have documented escalating criticism which cuts across party lines.

While most of the initial concerns centered on the issue of national security, recent objections have also included the constitutional rights of the alleged terrorists. For example, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, stated that trying the accused in a civilian court will expand their constitutional rights and may result in more lenient sentences than in a military court.

"The administration should not prioritize the rights of terrorists over the rights of Americans to be safe and secure," he added.

Critics have also voiced their opinion on the Democratic side, with Senator Jim Webb of Virginia pointing to the potential disruption and high costs associated with conducting the trail on U.S. soil.

However, the Obama administration’s decision was praised by civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, whose executive director Anthony Romero called it "a huge victory" for the rule of law.

"It would have been an enormous blow to American values if we had tried these defendants in a process riddled with legal problems," he added.

Five Guantanamo prisoners accused on planning the terrorist attacks will stand trial in a civilian court in New York just blocks away from "ground zero."

Superfruit Appears To Help Obese People Live Healthier Lives

Superfruit appears to help obese people live healthier lives According to a new study, the juice of mangosteen fruit, which has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties, may also help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in obese individuals.

The results of the research were published in Nutrition Journal and suggest that consumption of the exotic fruit may lower the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a measure of inflammation.

Dr. Jay Udani, lead researcher in the study, explained that inflammation—as measured by CRP—is a predictor of cardiovascular disease and a precursor of metabolic syndrome.

He added that the results are important because they suggest that reducing inflammation in obese people is a treatment goal. Moreover, drinking a natural product such as mangosteen juice tends to be preferable to other therapy methods due to its lack of side effects.

MangosteenBasics.com, an informational website, says mangosteen fruit is rich in antioxidants and contains fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamins B1, B2 and B6 as well as iron and vitamin C. It is also a good source of xanthones, which are believed to boost the immune system and promote general wellbeing.

A Thanksgiving Lesson

Did you know that our Pilgrim forefathers tried communism when they first landed at Plymouth Rock?

How’s that for a dramatic beginning to a story? Years ago, when I used to give a lot of talks to high school classes, this was one of my favorites. It always got the students’ attention. And I have to admit, I also enjoyed seeing some liberal teachers get so upset with me they almost lost their lunches.

Here’s the story I told those students in those long-ago presentations.

The Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 were incredibly brave and hardy souls. They were motivated by the noblest of virtues. They vowed, each and every one, to be as selfless as possibleto always put the needs of the group first. They agreed to own everything in common and to share everything equally.

And their naïve piety almost killed the entire colony.

We all know how the adventure begins. A group of devout Christians, seeking religious freedom for themselves and eager to "advance the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ" in the New World, sets sail from Plymouth, England in 1620. An investment consortium known as the Merchant Adventurers of London paid the expenses for the trip, including chartering the Mayflower and its 40-man crew.

The deal was simple: The Pilgrims agreed to establish a colony in northern Virginia where they would plant crops, fish the waters and hunt in the forests. They would return a certain percentage of each year’s bounty to London until their debt had been repaid.

Things went wrong from the start. First, the syndicate changed the deal, drastically reducing the amount they would loan the Pilgrims. The brave adventurers were forced to sell many of their own possessions, and much of their provisions, to pay for the trip. As a result, they landed in the New World badly short of supplies.

Next, the small ship they had purchased in Holland, which was to accompany them to America so they could fish the waters off the coast, had to be abandoned in England.

Shortly after they set sail, the ship, badly misnamed the Speedwell, became "open and leakie as a sieve," as its captain reported. They returned to Dartmouth, where the boat was dry-docked for three weeks as repairs were made.

But to no avail. After leaving Dartmouth, the group sailed less than 300 miles when the captain decided the Speedwell "must bear up or sink at sea." This time the ships put in at Plymouth, England, where it was decided to go on without the Speedwell. On Sept. 16, 1620, the Mayflower set out alone to cross the Atlantic.

A month later, when they had reached the halfway point, fierce storms battered the ship and threatened the lives of passengers and crew. Many wanted to turn back for England. But if they abandoned the journey, they would lose everything they had invested. The Pilgrims decided to trust in God and sail on.

Despite the storms, the hazards, the crowding and the poor food, only one Pilgrim died during the voyage, a young servant. His death was balanced by the birth of a son to Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins, who named their child Oceanus.

There were 102 passengers on board the Mayflower50 men, 20 women and 32 childrenalong with a crew of 40. The captain set a course along the 42nd parallel, a bearing that would carry him to Cape Cod. From there he intended to swing south and follow the coast to northern Virginia.

A little over two months later, on Nov. 19, land was finally sighted and the captain turned the ship south, toward Virginia. However, they soon encountered such "dangerous shoals and roaring breakers" that they turned back to Massachusetts. It was then that the grumblings of dissent turned into a full-fledged roar. Many of the passengers insisted on landing in Massachusetts, where "none had power to command them."

The Pilgrim leaders decided to meet the explosive situation by asking each male on board, except for the crew, to sign a formal document that would lay "the first foundation of their government in this place." Thus the Mayflower Compact was born.

The Pilgrims were a diverse lot. Many of them were illiterate. Yet in creating the Mayflower Compact they showed an extraordinary political maturity. They agreed to establish a government by the consent of the governed, with just and equal laws for all. Each adult male, regardless of his station in lifegentleman, commoner or servantwould have an equal vote in deciding the affairs of the colony. Of the 65 men and boys on board, all but 24 signed the agreement. The only ones who did not were the children of those adults who did sign, or men who were too sick to do so.

The first decision made under the covenant was to abandon efforts to reach Virginia and instead to settle in New England. The first explorers landed at Plymouth on Dec. 21, 1620.

Weather delays kept the majority from seeing their new home for nearly two weeks. On Jan. 2, 1621, work began on the first building they would erecta storehouse.

Because provisions were so scanty they decided that the land would be worked in common, produce would be owned in common, and goods would be rationed equally. Not unlike the society Karl Marx envisioned of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Unfortunately, thanks to illness, injury and attitude, the system did not work. Pilferage from the storehouse became common. Suspicions of malingering were muttered. Over the course of that first, harsh winter, nearly half of the colonists perished. Four families were wiped out completely; only five of 18 wives survived. Of the 29 single men, hired hands and servants, only 10 were alive when spring finally came.

The colonists struggled desperately for two more years. When spring arrived in April 1623, virtually all of their provisions were gone. Unless that year’s harvest improved, they feared few would survive the next winter. The Pilgrim leaders decided on a bold course. The colony would abandon its communal approach and permit each person to work for his own benefit, not for the common good.

Here is how the governor of the colony, William Bradford, explained what happened then. This is taken from his marvelously readable memoir (if you can make adjustments for the Old English spellings), History of Plimoth Plantation:

The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Plato & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of properties, and bringing it in communitie into a commone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.

For this communitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For yet young men that were most able and fitte for labor & services did repine that they should spend their time & strength to worke for other men’s wives and children with out any recompense.

Once they replaced communal efforts with individual responsibility the differences were dramaticand life-saving. Men went into the fields earlier and stayed later. In many cases, their wives and even their children (some barely past the toddler stage) worked right alongside them. More acres were planted, more trees were felled, more houses were built, and more game was slaughtered because of one simple change: People were allowed to keep the fruits of their own labors.

The Pilgrims arrived deeply in debt to the London merchants who sponsored them. They worked for more than 20 years, as individuals and as a community, to pay off the crushing burden. In 1627, they borrowed money to pay off the Merchants Adventurers. By 1645, they had paid off the entire debt to the company which had advanced them the sums to pay off the Merchants.

When their debt had been paid in full (at the astronomical interest rate of 45 percent per year), the company that had advanced the sums wrote the Pilgrims:

Let it not be grievous to you, that you have been instruments to break the ice for others who come after with less difficulty. The honour shall be yours to the world’s end.

As we celebrate this coming Thanksgiving Day, some 380 years after the Pilgrims celebrated the first of this uniquely American holiday, let us remember the sacrifices they made… the devotion they showed… and the lessons they learned.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Study: Some Strokes Preceded by a ‘Warning Stroke’

Study finds one out of eight stroke victims has a mild stroke firstA new study finds that one out of every eight stroke victims has a mild stroke beforehand.

The research, appearing in the journal Neurology, reports that 12 percent of all stroke victims identified over a four-year period in Ontario suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA)—or mild stroke. A TIA is identified as lasting less than 24 hours and resolving itself.

Those with the warning stroke were typically older than those without warning strokes. They were also more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. Researchers say it’s possible their blood vessels were "preconditioned to the lack of blood flow, which protected them from the full result of the larger stroke."

Sufferers who did not have a TIA were more likely to have a more serious stroke than those who did have one.

Researchers say all strokes should be treated at an emergency room immediately.

Symptoms of a stroke include trouble walking or speaking, paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, vision problems and headache.

According to WebMD, controlling high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and managing stress are all things that can be done to reduce the risk of stroke.

New York City Taxes, Conservative Women, Global Warming and Loans to Uncle Sam

*Where were you on Nov. 16, 2000? Most of us would find it impossible to know for certain where we were on any given dayespecially if it were almost a decade ago. But for one hedge-fund manager, his whereabouts for four days in 2000 was worth almost $27 million. That’s how much Julian Robertson saved on New York City taxes for the year, when he and his staff could prove he was in the city for less than half of the year.

*New Calendar Features Conservative Women. Many thanks to all of you who had kind things to say about my Straight Talk interview with Michelle Malkin. Permit me to note she is as pretty as she is smartas you can prove for yourself by getting the 2010 Great American Conservative Women calendar. A fundraiser for the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, you can see the calendar at www.cblpi.org. Other women featured this time include Anne Coulter, Star Parker, Bay Buchanan and Carrie Prejean.

*What Happened to Global Warming? That’s the provocative headline over a story on the British Broadcasting Corporation website. The article notes that climatologists have not been able to confirm any global warming in the past 11 years, despite a measurable rise in carbon-dioxide, which is blamed for much of this non-existent problem. By the way, the Met Office (the British weather service) says that over the next decade, at least half of the years will be hotter than 1998so far the warmest year on earth since records were kept.

*A Rush to Loan Uncle Sam Money. The latest Treasury auction three weeks ago, for a record $123 billion in U.S. debt, was oversubscribed by nearly $250 billion. The five-year notes, which will pay just over 3.5 percent, were especially popular with central banks, foreign governments and other eager lenders. Let’s see if this remains true for the rest of this fiscal year when the profligate federales will need to borrow an additional $1.2 trillion to cover the deficits they’re accumulating.

—Chip Wood

Chicago Handgun Laws Challenged In Supreme Court Brief

Chicago handgun laws challenged in Supreme Court briefOn November 16th the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed its 73 page brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, disputing the city’s restrictive firearm laws.

The SAF filed its suit in conjunction with the Illinois State Rifle Association and four individual plaintiffs to question Chicago’s citywide ban on handguns.

The McDonald case will be argued by attorney Alan Gura, who successfully battled federal firearm regulations in 2008 in the Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller.

"Our filing today will help establish that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right of American citizenship no city official can violate," Gura said.

The plaintiffs not only plan to challenge Chicago’s ban on handguns, but also hope to prevent other states from outlawing citizens’ right to bear arms. Oral arguments are planned to be heard by the Supreme Court in February of 2010 and a ruling is expected in the spring.

Coincidentally, today a federal appeals court in Wisconsin overturned the conviction of a man barred from owning firearms due to his criminal record, CBS News reports.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a trial judge to take a second look at a 1996 federal law prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from owning a firearm.